Drugs, a Misunderstood Industry

It’s funny. For the better part of a century we have had the Drug War, useful to politicians, heavily funded, but producing no results. Prices of drugs have remained about the same or gone down. Drugs are one of those things like poverty and climate change that everybody is against but that never change. The question arises of who really wants to end the drug trade.

From a libertarian point of view, Chapo Guzman is a figure to be admired, having started from nothing and built a highly profitable international business despite onerous federal regulation.You know, like Walmart.

The contribution to world employment is large. Peasants in Colombia growing coca, like poppy cultivators in Afghanistan and Mexico, do not want the drug trade ended because they make more money supplying the drug trade than in planting potatoes. This applies to multitudinous growers of marijuana in countless regions, to include Humboldt County in California.

users of drugs very much want their supply continued.

Oxycontin is credited with a hundred thousand overdose deaths in America alone. If that many are dying, a very great many more must be using and surviving.  This means that big pharma is making a killing, so tospeak as are the corrupt doctors and pharmacies selling the stuff. Neither they nor their customers want the supply to dry up.

Cough syrup containing ephedrine, used in making methamphamine, was made illegal because so many meth labs popped up in the US. Meth is highly popular in America How do you suppose college students would get through exams without their speed?

The purported war on drugs also provides jobs and federal benefits for armies of agents of the DEA and FBI. These are desirable for the adventurous who do not want to sit all day in offices as raiding narco houses is fun. Police forces get federal grants for pursuing dealers. For Mexican cops on the take, which is to say Mexican cops, bribes are attractive. By many accounts, American cops batten on the same sources of money. The drug trade is so lucrative that bribes can be high.Politicians and governmental officials also often are for sale at all levels. The United States is far from incorruptible.

The drug trade is said to be worth sixty billion dollars a year. I am not sure where the figure comes from or how it is calculated, but it is plausible. The American market is massive. Where to you suppose that sixty billion goes? Not into classy pickups and gold chains for Latin American narcos. That much money needs to be professionally laundered by the big kids, banks, maybe hedge funds, big commercial deals. Intelligence agencies are frequently suspected, being unaccountable, for practical purposes above the law, and having the connections and political pull to get away with it. Those doing his, as for example bank presidents,  know they are doing it. To do this, the launderers would need protection at high levels.

So who wants to end the drug trade?

Not the users. Not those in the trade. Not those on salary to pursue narcos: If you make  your living by trying to solve a problem, the last thing you want to do is to succeed. And  not those reaping billions yearly. Why would they want to dry up the endlessly recurring fortunes?

Let’s face it: Drugs are a stable and valued part of the international commercial landscape, like oil, semiconductors, or wheat. It employs millions, makes billions, keeps blacks under control, supplies and endless flow of hapless lowlifes for America’s commercial prisons. Its income is tax-free and, as America’s financial conditions worsen, demand for drugs will increase.

Can anyone believe that government wants to end the golden flow? The effort to suppress the business, to the extent that there is such an effort, has gone on as a mass market spectacle since at least the Sixties–with no results. The last time I checked, high schools remained awash in teenage drugs, week, crystal, shrooms, acid, nitrous. Universities, equally. Rock in the ghetto, white powder on Capitaol Hill, oxies and fentanyl in Appalachia and the Rust Belt. Prices remain reasonable, as ure lsign that the supply is not being squeezed.

The whole gorgeous antidrug burrito looks to be theater. When some high-level narco gets caught–El Chapo, La Barbie–Washington and the m3eiq shriek about how los narcos have been struck a terrible blow, and we follow the trial until the malfacctor is stuffed for life into durance vile in some max somewhere. Then we have to hear about his girlfriends and, in Chapoo’s case, children (Los Chapitos). Ray Rah DEA.

But of course putting a big guy in slam just creates a promotional opportunity for the number two guy: with the kind of money at stake, there will be plenty of suitors. The beat goes on. And this whether DEA was in cahoots with one cartel to decapitate another.

In a similar theatrical fraud, capture of large shipments of drugs gets played as a dire blow to the narcos: See? The dope warriors are protecting us, or those of us who want to be protected. But the confiscated drugs worth five million withering green dollars on the street cost the narcos a tiny fraction of the street value, so theirloss is not great.  But it’s great PR for DEA.

Do we really believe that squashing the trade would be difficult if those at the top wanted to squash it? Fines of a hundred million bucks on transgressing banks and jail time for higher-ups?  Small-scale money laundering would be hard to stop, yes: Narco Pedro in Guadalajara pays a hundred thousand dollars for a car in Chicago worth a thousand bucks. The dealership pays taxes on the income and the rest is clean. But a hundred million dollars? If If I make a wire transfer of ten grand to a daughter, it has to be reported to the feds at FinCin. Do we think that the massive federal law-enforcement apparatus cannot detect the transfer of huge sums?

Big laundering operations exist. The whorehouses of Bangkok can accept big amounts of cash from drug profits, tell (corrupt) authorities  the girls just had a good week, pay whatever taxes they can’t buy their way out of, take a fifteen percent laundering cut, and the rest goes to the narcos as clean money. But large amounts of moolah have to end up somewhere and in an increasingly electronic and watched world they are hard to hide. Assuming, that is, that there is any reall effort to find it.

It’s all a show.

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Comments 5

  • new column notifications not going out?

  • To solve any problem, much less the drug problem, the mass of voters would need logic skills which they lack. If the average adult in America is confronted with two logical propositions, “X causes Z,” and “Y causes Z,” they will be incapable of determining what causes Z. At an average IQ of 100, logic barely exists, so the average adult can’t make inferences. They simply can’t grasp the concepts of sufficient and necessary conditions. Without logic, they see the propositions as opinions, with one good and the other bad. Two opposing political philosophies coalesce around which of the two is good and which is bad. It’s quite juvenile.

    The drug problem is complex. Yet, “public” thought, express an an aggregate of voters, can’t solve even basic logic problems.

  • The road goes on forever and the pretend never ends.
    You should have mentioned the military use of drug war increase budget. Whenever peace tries to break out, there is always the drug war and children to protect to justify troops and equipment.

  • Sex, drugs, abortion and war. The businesses that are now considered, “Grade A, Government Inspected, Made in America” businesses. The United States is in the business of death. No wonder Putin is stated to have said that the United States is a godless country. Not very far from the truth.

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