Alcohol Consumption as a Measure of Social Degradation?

Using World Bank data, and their tool for creating data visualisations, I created a map using the same countries as I had found OECD data for in relation to environmental degradation, http://databank.worldbank.org/data/reports.aspx?source=health-nutrition-and-population-statistics#.

The question is, can alcohol consumption be considered a good measure of social degradation? I’m sure that would an interesting (and somewhat controversial debate).

Most people would agree that excessive, compulsive, or irresponsible alcohol consumption could be a social issue; an expression of an unhappy and unfulfilled society, filling an emotional hole with the escapism of alcohol. The problem is that data doesn’t break this down for us, we can’t presume to know why people are drinking, or whether it is a problem for them or indeed for society at large. Unless we consider alcohol consumption in general to be negative for society (which I’m not sure we can) then this may not be an adequate or fair measure of social degradation or human health.

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