Drugshow

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Drugshow

  1. 1. Modern Prohibition: War on Drugs Does Paternalism Work?
  2. 2. Normative v. Positive Analysis <ul><li>Normative </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Drugs are bad for you </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>People should be free to do what they want with their bodies </li></ul></ul><ul><li>This is the realm of ethics, philosophy & politics </li></ul><ul><li>Positive </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Prohibition is costly? How costly? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Prohibition causes more crime? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Drugs cause crime? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>This is the realm of economics </li></ul>
  3. 3. History of Drug Prohibition <ul><li>Many things have been banned throughout the ages: Coffee (Egypt, 1500s), Tobacco (Russia, Ottoman Empire, 1700s), Alcohol (U.S., 1920-34; middle east, today) </li></ul><ul><li>Opiates & Cocaine banned in U.S. in 1914. </li></ul><ul><li>Marijuana banned in 1937. </li></ul>
  4. 4. Economics of Drug Prohibition <ul><li>Why is prohibition so hard? </li></ul><ul><li>Why do drug users steal and rob? </li></ul><ul><li>Why do drug markets have quality problems? </li></ul><ul><li>Why do drug markets have gangs and violent crime? </li></ul><ul><li>Why do drug users often move on to more potent drugs? </li></ul>
  5. 5. Why steal and rob? <ul><li>If demand is inelastic increasing the price, increases the total amount that we spend on the good. </li></ul><ul><li>This puts drugs, which should be inexpensive in terms of their raw materials, out of reach for many without resorting to property crime. </li></ul><ul><li>Legalized drugs would be cheap, so few would need to resort to crime to finance their habit. </li></ul>
  6. 6. Why quality problems? <ul><li>In the absence of legal protections against fraud, fraud is less costly. </li></ul><ul><li>A supplier who “cuts” his drugs with impurities or dangerous substances can often profit. </li></ul><ul><li>Many (most?) so-called “over-doses” are actually cases of impurities. </li></ul><ul><li>Would legalizing drugs would be safer in this regard. </li></ul>
  7. 7. Why gangs and violence? <ul><li>Again, in the absence of legal rules,violence is often the only way to resolve disputes. </li></ul><ul><li>Gang shootings are really turf battles and “drug deals gone bad” contract disputes </li></ul><ul><li>Legalized markets would not have this as most people settle disputes peacefully in legal markets. </li></ul><ul><li>But what is the social and moral cost? </li></ul>
  8. 8. Are drugs bad for you? <ul><li>Most of the effects we see in drug markets are not the result of the effects of drug overdoses (not including long term effect)--rather these effects are caused by the illegal nature of the market place. </li></ul><ul><li>(i.e.-Organized Crime after 18 th Amendment) </li></ul><ul><li>Almost 400,000 die from smoking, 150,000 from alcohol, and 50,000 in car accidents annually--less than 5,000 die from cocaine & heroin. Almost none per year due to Marijuana </li></ul>
  9. 9. Latest Studies <ul><li>No one has ever died of THC poisoning, mostly because a 160-lb. person would have to smoke roughly 900 joints in a sitting to reach a lethal dose. (No doubt some have tried.) But that doesn't mean pot can't contribute to serious health problems and even death—both indirectly (driving while stoned, for instance) and directly (by affecting circulation, for example). </li></ul>
  10. 10. EU Study <ul><li>Over 100,00o studied, multiple type users </li></ul><ul><li>THC kills cancerous cells that develop from smoking cigarettes and inhaling other substances that create free radicals </li></ul>
  11. 11. Effects on criminal justice system? <ul><li>How much does this cost? $$ billions </li></ul><ul><li>How many people are in jail? 100,000s </li></ul><ul><li>Bribery and corruption are major problems. </li></ul><ul><li>Civil liberties: RICO, 4 th Amendment. </li></ul>
  12. 12. Evaluating Drug Policy (cont.) <ul><li>Fairness: hurts the poor or helps the poor? Hurts minorities or helps them? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Why is the penalty for crack more than the penalty for cocaine? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Liberty: Is it our right to do drugs? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>They are enjoyable--is that bad? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Are they really victimless crimes? </li></ul></ul>
  13. 13. Race Issue-Voting <ul><li>Over 3.9 million citizens are either currently or permanently barred from voting, including over one million of whom have already completed their sentence. </li></ul>
  14. 14. Disenfranchisement <ul><li>According to the same report, of the 3.9 million who are denied the vote, 36 percent or 1.4 million are African American men (13 percent of the male African American population). </li></ul><ul><li>Ten states disenfranchise more than one in five adult African American men; and in seven of those states, one in four are disenfranchised for life. </li></ul><ul><li>Similarly, a more recent report conducted by the National Commission on Election Reform concluded that presently, nearly “7 percent of all African Americans cannot participate in the electoral process.” </li></ul>
  15. 15. By the Numbers <ul><li>In twelve states, 10 to 15 percent of all adult black men are incarcerated, </li></ul><ul><li>In ten states, 5 to 10 percent of all adult black men are incarcerated. </li></ul><ul><li>In twelve states, black men are incarcerated at rates between 12 and 16 times greater than those of white men </li></ul><ul><li>In fifteen states, black women are incarcerated at rates between 10 and 35 times greater than white women. </li></ul>
  16. 16. Reality <ul><li>The “Sentencing Project” estimates that 1 in 9 African American males in the age group between 25 and 29 is in or has been in state or federal prison, compared to just over 1 in 100 white males. </li></ul><ul><li>If the black males from local jails are included in the figures, the proportions rise to nearly 1 in 7. </li></ul>
  17. 17. War on Drugs- Modern Prohibition <ul><li>Throughout the 1970s, blacks were arrested approximately twice as often as whites for drug related crimes. </li></ul><ul><li>However by 1988, with the “War on Drugs” in full swing, blacks were arrested for drug related offenses at five times the rate of whites. </li></ul>
  18. 18. Are A.A. more likely to commit crime? <ul><li>During the 1980s in Minnesota, drug related arrests of African Americans grew by 500 percent while drug related arrests for whites only increased by 22 percent. </li></ul><ul><li>In North Carolina, between 1984 and 1989, minority arrests for drug related offenses increased by 183 percent while increasing only 36 percent for whites. </li></ul>
  19. 19. <ul><li>In 1996, African Americans constituted 62.6 percent of all drug related offenders admitted into state prisons, meanwhile whites only constituted 36.7 percent. </li></ul><ul><li>In the states of Illinois and Maryland, African Americans comprise 90 percent of all drug admissions. </li></ul>
  20. 20. <ul><li>“ Nationwide, the rate of drug admissions to state prison for black men is thirteen times greater than the rate for white men. In ten states, black men are sent to state prison on drug charges at rates that are 26 to 57 times greater than those of white men </li></ul><ul><li>in the same state.” ~ Punishment and Prejudice: Racial Disparities in the War on Crime </li></ul>
  21. 21. Why control voting? <ul><li>As mentioned before, 1.4 million of the 3.9 million disenfranchised citizens are African American men. </li></ul><ul><li>In two states, Alabama and Florida, over 31 percent of all black men are permanently barred from voting. </li></ul><ul><li>In five other states, Iowa, Mississippi, New Mexico, Virginia and Wyoming, between 24 to 28 percent of all black men are permanently disenfranchised. </li></ul>
  22. 22. <ul><li>“ Given current rates of incarceration, three in ten of the next generation of black men will be disenfranchised at some point in their life. In states with the most restrictive voting laws, 40 percent of African American men are likely to be permanently disenfranchised.” </li></ul><ul><li>~ Losing the Vote: The Impact of Felony Disenfranchisement Laws in the United States </li></ul>
  23. 23. What Freedom? <ul><li>In fact, according to The Sentencing Project and the Human Rights Watch, the &quot;United States may have the world's most restrictive criminal disenfranchisement laws.” </li></ul><ul><li>Most other democracies only bar criminals who have undermined the &quot;democratic order&quot; (ie electoral crimes, treason, buying/selling votes) from voting; and virtually no other democratic country denies the vote to criminals who have already served their sentence. </li></ul>

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