Seventy-Five Years Ago: Economic Man, Meet Beer-Drinking Man

Counting Down to April 7, the Anniversary of the Return of Legal Beer

March 19, 1933:

The day fell on a Sunday that year, and newspapers filled their extra sections with speculations about the fate of the “beer bill” chugging through Congress.

Several days earlier, the House of Representatives had passed a version permitting the sale of 3.2% beer. Would the Senate go along? Would it demand a higher content? Lower? Would the “drys” get their way and stop any legislation?

Never mind the goofy illogic of the situation: A third of adults were out of work, and nearly as many were homeless. Where would people find the money to buy beer?

That question might “puzzle Adam Smith,” observed one commentator. “But it will puzzle no one who remembers that beer-drinking man and economic man are not the same person.”

And this “psychological moment” belonged to beer-drinking man. When beer “[made] its bow,” then “happier . . . days” could not be far behind.
___________________________
Source: “New Flow of Beer Will Bring Social and Economic Changes,” New York Times, March 19, 1933, p. 2XX.

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