numbers, but I also like to understand them. Whenever I hear a number, I try to
figure out whether it is reasonable, makes sense or if I need to learn more
about it. Some may think that is my science training at work, I think it is the
other way around, that is why I became a scientist originally.
this comes to mind because during my vacation I came across a statistic that
flabbergasted me, but that I am still not sure I do understand or can even come
close to understand: Venezuela was once again the number one country in per
capita consumption of imported Scotch whisky.
may think this is not that hard to understand, but I do. I have always said
that I am almost 100% Venezuelan, except for two facts: I like to arrive right on
time and I don’t drink Scotch, which may explain how mystified I am by the fact
that Venezuelans consumed in 2004 a staggering 25 million liters of Scotch
whisky that comes out to basically a liter per year per capita. To put this
number in perspective, the US
imported 139 million liters in 2004 or less than half a liter per person (0.45
to be more precise).
is, how can Venezuelans consume so much more imported scotch per person than
given the much lower purchasing power of the Venezuelan population? Imagine
this: Let’s assume 10% of the Venezuelan population can afford to buy scotch.
Let’s then say than half the population is under 18 and can not drink. Let us
further assume that like me, some percentage of people just don’t like scotch
and moreover, men drink more scotch than women, let’s say aggressively by a
factor of two. That says that roughly these Venezuelan scotch drinkers consume
50 liters of imported scotch per year or one liter per week.
is, this is simply one type of liquor, and this excludes beer, rum, crummy
Venezuelan whiskies and the like. Thus, let us assume, imported scotch makes up
half the drinks they have, this leaves us with a liter of hard liquor per
person every three and a half days. Can a country function like that? Maybe
that is part of our problem. Who knows?
is that I think that politicians (of all sides) have something to do with this.
I am sure an outrageous percentage of Government funds pays for the nice scotch
that politicians consume. Any anniversary of a political party, meeting or
negotiations seems to be followed by the boxes of bottles of Scotch, ice, water and soda. But even
with this, I really have no way of justifying the numbers and have begun
gathering the consumption of other alcoholic beverages, in order to delve even deeper into
the problem in the future. Stay tuned!