1. Пьянство и уровень смертности в России
2. Роль цены на алкогольную продукцию
1.Трейсман D. Alcohol and early death в России: the political economy of self-destructive drinking. – Moscow: State University – Higher School of Economics, 2008. – 44 p.
Another reason which is commonly named as one of the leading reasons for death is the underfunding of the healthcare system in Russia. It is true that the healthcare system in Russia is not the one to be proud of. It is true that the hospitals did not correspond the needs of the population both in number of beds and in quality. However at the same time in the middle of 1990s the amount of doctors per person in Russia was one of the highest in the world.
One more reason commonly named is environmental degradation in Russia. Some scientists say that the environmental situation in the country is extremely conducive to the growth of the mortality rate. However, Treisman says that in reality many plants were closed in Russia in 1990s which finally has even improved the environmental situatio
Treisman concludes that neither of the named problems nor other (like smoking, tuberculosis, HIV etc.) can explain the mortality crises. He also says that alcohol can’t be the only reason either but “the point here is just that the evidence linking heavy drinking to the rise in premature deaths in Russia is strong – and appears even stronger when compared to the evidence for other factors often blamed for the country’s mortality crises”3.
The central part of the article is connected with the attempt to find an answer to the question ‘why do Russians drink?’. Here the author tries to link social economy with the philosophy of the social bodies mainly basing his investigation on Emil Durkheim’s quotations.
The starting point in the investigation is the idea of Durkheim that any serious social readjustment which is viewed by the people as a possible way to catastrophe aggravates the processes of self destruction one of which is heavy drinking.
Analyzing the data of the Russian Centre for Public Opinion Research (VCIOM) Treisman shows that Durkheim idea is not fully relevant for Russians: they drink both when there’s a feeling of catastrophe and where there is not. He states that drinking however is treated as stigma: sometimes people even express their understanding of the disapproval of their drinking.
Finally, he comes to the conclusion that heavy drinking is quite widespread along Russia for quite a time. Every time something happens in the country Russians can find a reason to drink. I will add to purely statistical date of Treisman some concept information. There are such Russian proverbs as ‘Again no reason not to drink’, ‘It is better to drink a liter of vodka than not to drink a liter of vodka’.
Historical data suggests that heavy drinking was a real problem in Russia already in the XIXth century. Peasants used to celebrate state and church holidays which together enumerated up to 100 days a year and every holiday was accompanied by drinking. Different observations also show that an average sum of money for vodka spent by a peasant through year could sufficiently provide food for his whole family for at least half a year. They frequently didn’t have any bread left as early as the New Year and were to live on quite a scarce vegetable menu but still didn’t try to economize on high spirits. These facts together with the statistics collected by Treisman show that even when the price was high the people were drinking, hence the situation could become worse if the price went down.
2. The Role of High Spirits Price
Treisman suggests that the main reason for heavy drinking in Russia is the affordability of vodka. He brings together very interesting facts to prove this idea, for example: “In December 1990, the average monthly income in Russia would buy 10 liters of vodka; four years later, it would buy almost 47 liters. During the same period, the number of liters of domestic beer one could buy with average monthly income fell from 278 to 209 liters”4.
The very beginning of the last decade of the XX century was also connected with several political decisions connected with the economy of high spirits. Roughly the situation was as follows:
1991 vodka is sold only with ration cards (1 liter per month)
January 1992 a Presidential decree allows all Russians to engage in trade
June 1992 the state monopoly for alcohol production and trade abolished
1993 state monopolization of the vodka market
It looks quite natural to say that after seizing the consumption by the use of ration cards the people could start to consume a bit more when they found a source of the previously restricted food. It is still quite common in Russia to remember the 1990s and at any threat of social catastrophe start to buy and conserve food (the latest example is the denomination in Belarus which is a former Soviet republic).
Taking into consideration such characteristics of the social and economic life as unemployment rate, rate of job turnover, crime rate, poverty rate, healthcare and vodka price Treisman concludes that “increases in the affordability of vodka were associated with statistically significant increases in mortality”5. There is only one exclusion in the named tendency in Russia: “Because of the Islamic proscription of alcohol, one would not expect the affordability of liquor to affect mortality in the same way within the Muslim population”6.
Here Treisman suggests that the common law of that addictive products consumption is insensitive to price. Here we can see that the relative decrease in vodka price suggest the growth of consumption.
The last but the most important issue of the article is the issue on the reasons for the vodka price depreciation. Treisman investigates several reasons: market competition, drop in taxes and government regulation. Скрыть
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