Scandinavia and the World

Comments #9779715:

Free Greenland 23 7, 7:21am


There is a big difference between trying to completely ban an addictive substance like alcohol in a society where it has been freely available for centuries and not introducing it in a society at all.

US prohibition failed because it tried to do the first thing, while severely rationing the amount of alcohol citizens where allowed to buy worked very well in Sweden.
We did so between 1919 and 1955 - long enough for several generations of Swedes to come of age knowing no other system then that the state only allowed you to buy an amount sufficient for normal consumption.

That way the majority of Swedes accepted the rationing to combat the over-use by a minority.
Because ordinary, law abiding citizens could still buy the alcohol they wanted for special celebrations and such.
While in the US, with it's complete ban, the majority of people didn't support the draconian policy and as such it was impossible to enforce effectively.

Finland is an example of a mix of the two. Like the US they tried a complete ban for a while, but ended it before the Second World War. On the other hand they - like Sweden - did nationalize all sales of alcohol into a state-run monopoly that meant they still have better control over the sales.