Consider the costs to a society from alcohol: (a) productivity lost due to drunkenness, (b) drunk driving, (c) hangovers, (d) resources spent on legal proceedings following drunken sex on campus, and (e) time and money lost due to medical care required because of excessive alcohol consumption.
It is hard to find someone who would say that U.S. GDP is higher because of the alcohol we consume.
Wikipedia puts out a helpful “List of countries by alcohol consumption per capita.” Shouldn’t we expect that, assuming these numbers are relatively stable over decades and centuries, a rough inverse correlation between drinking and productivity?
Yet the correlation does not seem strong. The Greeks drink less than the Germans or Swiss. Italians drink about the same amount as the Japanese. Egypt is not famously productive and yet they consume minimal alcohol.
If drinking is as destructive as we are told why can’t we see it in the stats?