At the same time, capitalism was evolving from mercantilism and industry was gaining ground on agriculture. The domestic system required high amounts of unskilled manual labor which was provided by the vast lower class. Social mobility was infrequent at best for those of the laborers. The wages paid to the poor were inadequate and unfair. The economic bubble caused by the South Sea Trading Company in 1720 was evidence of the weakness and inexperience of the new system of publicly traded stocks and bonds. Economic troubles have always had the potential to lead to substance abuse, but the drunkenness problems faced by city and country dwellers alike in Great Britain throughout the eighteenth century were massive. Gin consumption had become a serious problem and the conservative businessmen clashed with the liberal social reformers over how to solve it.
The opponents of this legislation can be defined as any person or organization who was opposed to the ratification of the Gin Act. This group was composed of distillers, merchants, and those worried about the government infringing upon personal property rights. Of the three often overlapping group