Last Call

June 1st, 2010

Over the weekend we read in the New York Times, how New York City and maybe other levels of government we're thinking of finding ways to ban or at least get us to cut back on salt consumption. It should remind us that ninety years ago government, with the willing support of vast swatches of the American people, decided that we should no longer consume alcohol and the 13th amendment was born. While prohibition certainly changed behavior, it also carried with it many, many unintended consequences. In his new book Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition, former New York Times public editor Daniel Okrent examines how a perfect storm of political and social trends lead to prohibition, what were some of those unintended consequences and why and how something similar could happen again. My conversation with Daniel Okrent: