Signs of the Times

[From the Pioneer, Canada]

With regard to the working of the prohibitory law, generally speaking there are several points which seem to be pretty well established. (1) It has greatly improved the position of the poorer classes. Personal interviews with social workers in such widely distributed centers as Boston, New York, Cincinnati, Winnipeg, Chicago, Halifax, and St. Johns all point to the same conclusion. The slum districts in Cincinnati surrounding the great breweries, since the coming of prohibition, have been transformed into decent residential districts; and there is a greater air of prosperity, in spite of unemployment to-day over the whole place. It has been estimated that almost fifty per cent of the former drink bill goes into the savings banks, and the balance is distributed amongst the moving pictures, ice cream, candy parlors, and so on. The chief difference seems to be that the head of the household, instead of spending the money on himself, distributes it amongst the members of the family. Even if they do not have any more at the end of the year in individual cases, at least they all enjoy the spending of it. (2) In spite of the crime wave sweeping the continent the offenses which may be attributed to strong drink have decreased wonderfully. The felony court of Cincinnati has been abandoned under prohibition, also two thirds of the city workhouse. When the city went under prohibition there were two hundred and ten prisoners in the workhouse. Within three months that number had been reduced to eighty. Within the first three months under prohibition the deposits in the city national and state banks increased from one hundred and ninety-four millions of dollars to over two hundred and four millions.

These are only a few of the facts which may be gleaned from the Year Book. Needless to say, there are many others of the same order which would all go to emphasize the statement made by Mr. Frank A. Vanderlip on February 25, 1920, before the Economic Club of New York City, when he said: "We have provided the greatest single economic factor looking toward material prosperity ever created by legislative enactment in prohibitory legislation."

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May 27, 1922

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