As reported by the Irish Examiner on Saturday, March 7, the Irish government is under fire for hypocrisy when it comes to sin stocks.
On the one hand, the government has come out against tobacco and alcohol companies for the social problems they cause. On the other hand, the government invests in these very industries and receives over 3 Billion Euros a year in tax revenue from them.
This is a common problem among many governments: They want to address, avoid, and eliminate the social problems these products can cause so they take the popular approach of creating strict regulations for these companies (including restrictive advertising, labeling, and sales regulations) but at the same time, it’s hard to say no to the sheer amount of money pouring into government coffers.
Is it hypocrisy? I don’t think so. People are going to buy these products whether or not they are legal. At least by regulating the industry, governments reap the benefits. And by investing in these companies, governments can add an additional layer of control (if that’s what they want to do — not that I necessarily agree with it) and consumer advocacy while at the same time assisting a valuable contributor to the economy.
Check out the article at the Irish Examiner.