Words of Wisdom:


Economic and Social Effects of Prohibition

  • Date Submitted: 01/28/2010 09:26 AM
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There are many ways in which prohibition of alcohol consumption in the United States of

America, damaged the very economic and social aspects of American culture, that it was

designed to heal.

“Prohibition did not achieve its goals. Instead, it added to the problems it was intended to

solve.”   On 16th January 1920, one of the most common personal habits and customs of

American society came to a halt. The eighteenth amendment was implemented, making all

importing, exporting, transporting, selling and manufacturing of intoxicating liquors absolutely

prohibited. This law was created in the hope of achieving the reduction of alcohol consumption,

which in turn would reduce: crime, poverty, death rates, and improve both the economy, and the

quality of life for all Americans. These goals were far from achieved. The prohibition

amendment of the 1920's was ineffective because it was unenforceable. Instead, it caused

various social problems such as: the explosive growth of organized crime, increased liquor

consumption, massive murder rates and corruption among city officials. Prohibition also hurt the

economy because the government wasn’t collecting taxes on the multi-billion dollar a year


One of the main reasons that prohibition failed, was because it was difficult to control

the mass flow of illegal liquor from various countries, mainly Canada. “Bootleggers smuggled

liquor from oversees and Canada, stole it from government warehouses, and produced their

own.” The newly established Federal Prohibition Bureau had only 1,550 agents, and “with

18,700 miles of vast and virtually unpoliceable coastline, it was clearly impossible to prevent

immense quantities of liquor from entering the country.” Not even 5% of smuggled liquor was

ever actually captured and seized from the hands of...


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