Thanks to my friend Jocelyn Harris of Dunedin, New Zealand for forwarding this editorial from the Otago Daily Times of January 16.
The editorial notes that a recent report finding no linkage between alcohol consumption and violence among Australians and New Zealanders was sponsored by Lion, a leading supplier of alcoholic beverages.
The report is Understanding Behavior in the Australian and New Zealand Night-Time Economies: An Anthropological Study. Its author, anthropologist Anne Fox, lists these key findings:
Alcohol-related violence is just one aspect of a culture of violence.
There is no direct relationship between per capita levels of consumption and rates of violence.
A drinking culture is both a part of and a reflection of the culture as a whole.
Efforts at alcohol control will be ineffective if not related to changes in the macho culture of violence.
Scapegoating alcohol as the sole cause of violence merely diverts attention from violent men and the maladaptive cultural norms that allow their behaviour to develop and proliferate.
Her recommendations focus on the behavior of individuals behavior. They largely dismiss the value of approaches such as limitations on alcohol marketing, the times alcoholic beverages can be sold, or the ways beverage companies create local cultures of drinking.
In a nutshell, the central point of this whitepaper is: it is the wider culture that determines the drinking behaviour, not the drinking. You can…