Nation of Beancounters

Is booze a substitute for Rule of Law?

Posted in Uncategorized by Navin Kumar on August 23, 2011

Tim Worstall says it might be

I got this when in Russia in the 90s. Most people you tried to do a deal with wanted to see you drunk before they agreed to do a deal with you. You could agree a deal, sign contracts all you wanted, but if something went wrong you couldn’t depend upon the law to sort it all out fairly. You had to depend upon the bloke you’d done the deal with. So what sort of bloke you’d done the deal with was vitally important. And you measured this by their behaviour while drunk.

Someone who became vicious, who lied, or let slip stories about how they’d screwed people over, not so interesting. Someone who got cheerier as they got more pissed a rather better prospect.

In essence, in the absence of that rule of law you had to rely upon an estimation of character: and for that, in vino veritas.

He invokes it to explain the culture of binge drinking in China.

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