All of this to say, we have a problem we need to deal with. An important part of that is to stop making the problem worse, but then we still need to fix it - something like this could be valuable to that end.
Actually, after the U.S. ended alcohol prohibition virtually all of the organizations devoted to booze either went legit or drastically shrank in size and scope. We would've been better off without alcohol prohibition in the first place, but ending it was certainly a net win.
If you're interested in the history and parallels of alcohol prohibition to today's drug prohibition, Daniel Okrent's Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition is pretty good: http://www.amazon.com/Last-Call-Rise-Fall-Prohibition/dp/074... .
It's not impossible that the problem would just poof go away, but it seems a poor choice to bet on it. Again, that doesn't mean that legalization isn't the place to start!
- has no land, territory, or people that we can lay siege to. in fact, their civilian population is our civilian population!
- has more military funding than we do
- as a result, they have an endless supply of soldiers for all levels of their command hierarchy
- has less oversight requirements than our military (effectively zero)
- has no need for popular support
- has no need for large infrastructure, facilities, or anything really. if you take away some building of theirs with soldiers, vehicles and drugs, they will buy 10 more to replace what you took. they can continue to do this because for every dollar that you produce, as the state, to fund your war, they produce 3.
so you're fighting an insurgent war against everyone and they have more money / resources than you do. and you expect to win? hey, maybe if we took away their ability to make money and recruit people, then this starts to make sense...
More seriously, in some places they already are labelled this way because they are effectively terrorists, shadow governments, militias etc, so there are already full-fledged military efforts to bring them down in some countries.
Doesn't really work.
This was, for me, a somewhat surprising result, so maybe it's worth keeping an open mind about what would happen with full legalization of everything.
In the case of mexican cartels specifically, I think there is more to it than just drug sales. They control large areas of mexico, entire towns. They're providing services of security and dispute resolution that the government can't or won't because the areas are too poor. Whenever a large portion of a country is ceded to a criminal group (like sicily used to be) unwinding the problem is more complicated than deincentivizing drug sales.
The price of avoiding authorities, not being able to openly use legitimate financing, or other facilities (transportation, storage, distribution chains), and constricted pool of talented employees is very high and currently included in the price. Also, many potential customers are not being served currently because they're not willing to engage in highly illegal transactions.
Even with fairly high taxes, regular corporations would easily be able to deliver product of higher quality and generally better experience not necessarily more expensively. Just like they do with alcohol, tobacco, or chocolate.
This is highly unlikely. It's MUCH cheaper to obey the law than not; as I said in another comment, you may notice that, after the U.S. ended alcohol prohibition, almost no one sold alcohol illegally because it wasn't worth it.
Daniel Okrent's book Last Call is pretty good on this subject.
Under the current scheme, the street price of drugs represents price + cost of maintaining a standing army + maintenance of baroque, multi-tier, low-capacity, high-overhead supply chain + "hazard pay" level wages for everyone involved in the enterprise.
So just focusing on taxes gives an unrealistic view of the situation. No, they're not paying taxes, but they're paying for scads and scads of other things, and have to pass that cost on to the consumer. This is pure deadweight loss, just as taxes would be. But it's also a relatively enormous loss; it would be very easy to come up with a tax rate that fits in below it. I suspect that anything less than four digits should do the trick, which means that we could even set the rate many times higher than the current rate for cigarettes and be fine.
And the market will not support operating an illegal network that's more expensive than the costs imposed by taxation. Take tobacco: organized crime is absolutely still involved in tobacco smuggling. And with excise taxes on cigarettes in the US averaging over 100%, that shouldn't be surprising. But at the same time, it doesn't seem to be supporting organized crime and associated social costs on anything near the scale we've seen with groups like the Zetas or al-Qaeda.
Another is that it makes treatment and getting off drugs harder because you can't be open about an addiction for fear of losing a job, health care or similar things.
Has anyone done any work on using this kind of network analysis in legal and productive organisations to see who has the most impact on innovation or changes in practice?
The "easy" way is to take very accessible data points such as the number of patent applications. But you can imagine just by looking at the patent system related discussions around here on hn that this is a very "discussable" subject.
It struck me that datasets from email, and from sharepoint like systems might help people identify the 'betweeners' in their organisation.
What gives society the right to choose for me what I may consume for myself?
However I can argue that we should think twice before to make legal something that get you addicted with the first dose and mess up with your brain in a so heavy way.
(Yes I do know about alcohol but it is a cultural and, by the way, different issue)
Comparing alcohol and cocaine is absurd, alcohol by any reasonable measure is just about one of the hardest drugs there is, and causes massively more societal harm than cocaine.
But we are supposed to make it a special exception because it's old? All that really amounts to is "Lets ban this because people who seem alien to me use it, but lets keep this other thing legal because 'normal' people use it." It is a xenophobic argument.
My point was simply that "heroine and cocaine are so dangerous that we have to keep them criminal" is not necessarily a valid position. Your point, which seems to be that such changes should not be made in isolation but supported by other policy measures, is certainly one that needs stressing as well.
What's the big deal of replacing one cartel with another? I mean, I understand that's what's inevitably going to happen - it's just sad to see widespread kowtowing by deillegalization supporters sucking up to power.
There are tons of farmer in Colombia who can only survive by growing those drugs, but they would like, in most of the case, to be able to grow crop or bananas or whatever is legal.
However they can't because a mere economic reason, they won't get enough money to survive from traditional culture.
If we invested the money we are actually using to violently fight against the cartel to develop the infrastructure and the education in those country we all be better off; we would have way less drugs in our world and we would have launch a new economy (more market for American brands like apple, google, IBM)
The point was to dramatically reduce this "ecosystem" of criminality. I believe it's kind of like when people see garbage on the ground, it's much easier for them to throw their garbage on the ground, too, because "others are doing it". The same thing must be with small crimes and with the people joining the drug cartels.
I believe The District was inspired from this guy's work:
// I am reporting on a book not expressing my own opinion
Of course, America's "liberty" is really just a facade for their nationalism.
Drug prohibition causes far more damage to society than a society where all drugs are legalized. It's also an affront to what seems like a basic human right: choosing what you put in your body. The concept of prohibition certainly doesn't have a single well thought out reason to support it. Every single argument in favor of it has been shown to be either false, or the worse of two evils, and finally, drug prohibition has been a total failure, a conclusion that's agreed to even by those who support it. It hasn't achieved any of its goals and will not achieve them. I can sense that you probably want specifics, so I'll list just a few, and if you want more... JFGI.
- AP: failure to meet any goals
- History of marijuana laws and reasons that were given for them:
- Portugal's success with total decriminalization of all drugs (not as good as legalization, but it's a step forward):
- Simple observations of hypocrisy (just one example: Marijuana does not fit the definition of a Schedule I substance yet is classified as such, while cigarettes do fit the definition and are legal).
The concept of "taxes", or collecting a pool of resources to be used for society at large, does have some well reasoned arguments to support it. It is an idea that does actually help society. Certainly there is a lot of debate about how those funds should be used, and whether they are used inappropriately, but the basic idea of pooling the collective resources of a society for the common good at least has a leg to stand on.
Drug prohibition is actually based on tax laws. The bulk of federal drug deillegalization will not even take an act of congress - they'll just start issuing tax stamps.
Seat belt laws are based on the idea that government/society has a financial interest in the productivity of your well functioning body. This analysis essentially treats us all as mild slaves. The conditions are certainly better than the racial slavery of yesteryear (although I'm just repeating the groupthinkline here; I don't have a time machine), but the ideology is not.
Pooling money for common purposes and avoiding free riders has a moral leg to stand on. However, the current system has massively outgrown this philosophical justification, using the sheer majority of revenue collected for maladaptive antifeatures.
That is a strawman for decriminalizing drugs. When you don't wear a seatbelt, you risk others' financial harm. We deal with that largely without loss of other people's lives. When you mug people for cash at knife point to buy heroin, peole get physically hurt. You cannot possibly sign a waiver saying that you will not mug, steal, break-in, etc. if you decide to try heroin.
Mind you I am not arguing against decriminalization or legalization of drugs. Just saying that your argument is bogus.
Second, given that most people have insurance, and that the ones who don't are free riding on emergency care for any injury, but yet you're saying that you would support deillegalization of non-seatbelt wearing if one were to sign a specific waiver (which the cartel of insurance companies would then prohibit you from signing anyway, no doubt), I don't believe your argument to be sincere. I can only infer that your real viewpoint is that universal mandatory seatbelt usage is a good thing, and you're just making yet another specious justification for dictating individuals' behavior.
FWIW, I've held up starting to drive for people who weren't putting a seat belt on, and I think it's pretty ridiculous to not wear one. I just don't think the government has any business mandating such behavior.
On top of the above, I spent many years in a country with a poor healthcare system and lax seatbelt laws. The results were not pretty.
Lastly, in your original post you seem to suggest a possibility that the government telling you to put on a seatbelt is somehow comparable to being a slave in the early days of this country. If that really was your suggestion, I am not sure how to respond to such misrepresentation of reality.
I'm no history buff, but I'm pretty sure that rampant taxation is at least part of the reason that the USA exists in the first place.
rampant taxation in the USA ? No are you serious... When you all talk about taxation in the USA you are talking about a joke for the European (Italian in particular 55% of tax) standard...
The alternative is to tacitly support them and their philosophy by calling taxes a responsibility, scapegoating individual people rather than indicting the process, focusing on the interesting technical details of their force multipliers, repeating half of their talking points to feel part of a televised identity, contributing to red/blue celebrity popularity contest turnout, etc.
It all seems to come down to the amount of resources one has to invest in such an effort. The various law enforcement communities are fighting with the "latest" technology but, the cartels are right there with them if not below or above them...
In the United States, the latest defense may be the use of various autonomous robots such as, submarines, boats & drones.
Unfortunately, similar techniques are being applied by the cartels to thwart the deterrents. It seems only obvious because, its less weight, and less people = cheap.
Like Autonomous ultralight UAV.
Submarines without life support systems must be cheaper.
Just mischievous robots in general,
Think on it.
If we legalized so powerful/bad drugs like heroin or cocaine we build a business, if we legalize those drugs then we need to legalized newer drugs, if we let corporation to make money out of drugs, well the first scenario that I can think about is a big pharmaceutical corp. who is investing in order to build super addicted drugs, super cheap drugs (free for the new-consumers ???) and commercial like "Try fancy-cool-drug-name you will get smarter, more beautiful and every woman will want you" (and at the very end a little voice will said very very fast "It can give you dependency")
I mean, I already hate the commercial of antidepressant (that are about the same stuff) and I am sure you do the same, legalize everything will be too much.
There is only one single scenario where it would be possible, when we will Educate (note the capital E) every single person, then no one will use such powerful drugs (heroin, cocaine and acid, i don't know anymore).
I live in the UK and I have never seen an advert for antidepressant, or for any drug stronger than aspirin. Sounds to me that the problem you describe is not so much legalisation of drugs, but that your country's advertising laws are broken.
Legalization of marijuana will allow buyers and growers to come together in their communities. It allows buyers to choose local farmers instead of those in foreign countries. Legalization would remove the cash source that causes people to want be part of these cartels.