Industrialization didn’t just create new ways of working, it created new ways of living, because the relocation of the population destroyed ancient habits common to country living, while drawing so many people together that the new density of the population broke the older urban models as well.
What made the craze subside wasn’t any set of laws. Gin consumption was treated as the problem to be solved, when it fact it was a reaction to the real problem—dramatic social change and the inability of older civic models to adapt. What helped the Gin Craze subside was the restructuring of society around the new urban realities created by London’s incredible social density, a restructuring that turned London into what we’d recognize as a modern city, one of the first.
Gin consumption, driven upward in part by people anesthetizing themselves against the horrors of city life, started falling, in part because the new social structures mitigated these horrors. The increase in both population and aggregate wealth made it possible to invent new kinds of institutions; instead of madding crowds, the architects of the new society saw a civic surplus, created as a side effect of industrialization. And
During this transition, what has been our gin, the critical lubricant that eased our transition from one kind of society to another? The sitcom.