Friday, June 24, 2011

Beer and Prosperity

Countering the "popular theories of economic growth in wealthy countries, dating back to the Protestant work ethic of Max Weber, [that] emphasize the abstemious and sober virtues of the well-to-do," Foreign Policy's Charles Kenny reports that "mounting evidence suggests that beer in particular, and the beer industry that surrounds it, may be as good for growth as excess sobriety" — Chug for Growth. The author writes, "In some of the world's toughest investment climates, beer companies today are building factories, creating jobs, and providing vital public services, all in the pursuit of new customers for a pint."

Noting that "beer may have been a force for growth for a long time" and "that beer consumption is higher in Protestant countries," Mr. Kenny dares to ask, "What if the early success of Protestant-dominated economies wasn't about Weber's famed work ethic at all, but about the impact of breweries? Of course, it may be just as outlandish to argue that progress is driven by hops and barley as by the fear of eternal damnation -- but at least it's more fun to discuss over a pint."

Taking it back even further, LiveScience's Charles Q. Choi last year reported on research suggesting "that Stone Age farmers were domesticating cereals not so much to fill their stomachs but to lighten their heads" — Beer Lubricated the Rise of Civilization, Study Suggests. The idea has been around for "more than 50 years, and now one archaeologist says the evidence is getting stronger." A decade ago, National Geographic's Kurt Stoppkotte discussed the "perfectly respectable academic theory that civilization began with beer" — Beer Brewing Paralleled the Rise of Civilization.

Let us end with the final word on the subject, from Benjamin Franklin: "Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy."

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Blogger Pints in NYC said...

It goes without saying that I approve of this message!

by the way - Pints all around!

11:37 PM  

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Omnes Sancti et Sanctæ Coreæ, orate pro nobis.