Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Narcotics Content

No, I still haven't gotten over staying at a Drury Motel and being refused access to cabdrollery because of its "drug and narcotics content". To be sure, I may have mentioned some few times that the drug war is losing, since for all the money the country has spent, there is no decline in use and sales of drugs. I may have mentioned that we lost support in Afghanistan by wiping out the crops that were supposed to support Afghan families, not processed for their own kids' use. Maybe I should tell you, though, that I'm not going to promote the use of drugs, and consider the legal ones much overused.

There has been a proposal that needs serious consideration, though, that Afghan farmers be allowed to grow poppies as they are already doing, but as a legal crop. The knee-jerk refusal of our government to take such a logical path is not a sign of purity, but of pure stupidity. One workable version of this proposal was posted yesterday at Informed Comment.

Globalization influences the relative profitability of different activities. In the US, globalization reduced profitability of steel production and increased it for software. In corrupt states, profitability soars in the production of goods and services that are internationally illegal: drugs, sex trafficking, contraband weapons or cigarettes, or counterfeit goods. . . .

Once organized crime and its supporters become the largest employers in the country, they play the same role that a more conventional business plays in other countries. They try to influence the political process. Moreover, they need to control the political arena - election of presidents and parliaments - even more tightly than "normal" business people because their very existence depends on having a government willing to tolerate violation of international rules as the country's main activity.

The government structure that emerges is "endogenous": It reflects domestic social and economic structure, which in turn is the outcome of greater international trade and economic incentives, much like other countries, except that the governance structure is, almost inevitably, more corrupt. The recent World Bank and International Monetary Fund's insistence on reforming governance in these countries is bound to fail because the cause is misdiagnosed.
A different approach is necessary: legalize the currently illegal activities like prostitution and drug use and modify the often draconian US and European immigration laws that stimulate human trafficking. If prostitution and drugs indeed became like haircuts and candies, their production would obey the same rules: Countries that export beauty services and confectionary products are not notably more corrupt than others. Some of the current entrepreneurs would remain in these activities, others would move to others. In either case, there would be a general "normalization" akin to what was observed after prohibition on alcohol sales was lifted in the US. Thousands of "bootleggers" became normal producers of alcohol, alcohol-linked criminality decreased, and only a minority of those with preference for high risk and crime moved to other illegal activities. . . .

Good sense is rejected by the worst administration ever because it has to court a base that cannot get beyond the concept of prohibition. The crime wave that was caused by the original prohibition doesn't convince the right wing. This time, they're sure they will get control by some magical mind meld that will turn everyone into a model citizen who is exactly like them. That is to say, when the right wing envisions a perfect world, lemonade is the beverage of choice, gays are reformed by proper churching, Sunday morning resounds with church bells of a conforming tone, and the demon that lives in them dominates you and me too.

Until such hell on earth comes, there will be differences, and working with them works but mindless opposition doesn't. A purification of other countries, like Afghanistan, turns the citizens of other parts of the world against us. Imposing our idea of order, as we have seen in our occupation of Iraq, only shows us for the insensitive barbarians that we have become under right wing leadership.

We can begin making ourselves part of the real world soon, when the occupied White House is regained. The damage the U.S. wingnuts have wreaked will begin to be replaced by reasonable, reality-based policies when the hirees of the right (Justice Department practices in that matter were detailed in Diane's post earlier) have been winnowed out. That can't come too soon.

Labels: , , ,


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with you. Prohibition of anything always opens up the black market and increases crime. And to think that our government could be collecting tax dollars on all those illegal drugs if only they were made legal. Oh, I forgot, the Pharmaceuticals only want "their" mind controlling drugs to be legal.

1:04 PM  
Blogger Ruth said...

Anything that makes sense can be ruled out under the right wing executive branch.

3:58 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home