State-owned enterprises must exercise their social responsibility as instruments of public health
In a brief presented to the world conference of liquor boards and authorities, Éduc’alcool questioned the validity of state-owned enterprises. Are they out-dated? Is their existence still justified?
The brief concluded that the best way to maintain state-owned alcoholic beverage enterprises would be for them to fully assume their social responsibilities by becoming instruments of public health. But there are other reasons, too.
State-owned enterprises report to public authorities, their activities are put under a microscope, and they are less likely than private enterprises to seek profit at all cost, selling to minors and vulnerable consumers. They also do more to educate the public and drinkers.
Furthermore, they put money in the public coffers, which serves society as a whole. It is easier to increase public revenues from alcohol sales than to achieve the same goal through tax increases.
The enterprises already exist and their market value is so enormous that only huge corporations could afford them. Privatization could end up replacing a public monopoly with a private one.
Finally, state-owned enterprises must fully assume their social responsibilities in order to reconcile customer satisfaction with the funding of public services and the promotion of public health.