Thursday, April 30, 2015

Baptists, Budweiser, breweries

An e-mail correspondent (who also has an interest in the relevance of Public Choice Economics) points us to this article in The Atlantic by Joe Pinsker;

Why Breweries Are So Rare in the American South

What do you get when you mix corporate interest with religiously motivated temperance? A whole lot of Budweiser.
Pinsker astutely notes;
Around the nation, big beer producers contribute to the campaigns of politicians who will support policies that discourage competition from local upstarts—for example, taxes on breweries and laws that prevent breweries from selling their kegs directly to consumers (instead of through a distributor). But what's unique about the South is that there's a voting bloc—the Baptists—whose moral stance against alcohol happens to align with large producers' desires to keep new competitors from getting started in the business. The support of Baptists provides Southern politicians with a reason to hinder brewers that politicians in other regions don't have. As a result, the states with the most Baptists tend to have the fewest breweries.
Even in states (like Louisiana) where there is a lot of beer drinking. Which brings out the relevance of the comment from Steve H to our post on the death of James Buchanan;
And in the words of Sir Dennis H. Robertson:

"There exists in every human breast an inevitable state of tension between the aggressive and acquisitive instincts and the instincts of benevolence and self-sacrifice. It is for the preacher, lay or clerical, to inculcate the ultimate duty of subordinating the former to the latter. It is the humbler, and often the invidious, role of the economist to help, so far as he can, in reducing the preacher’s task to manageable dimensions. It is his function to emit a warning bark if he sees courses of action being advocated or pursued which will increase unnecessarily the inevitable tension between self-interest and public duty; and to wag his tail in approval of courses of action which will tend to keep the tension low and tolerable."

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