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Illegal Drug Demand and Supply

March 31, 2011 by Crime and Punishment No Comments

Say’s law – frequently quoted by John Maynard Keynes - simply stated is, “supply creates it’s own demand.”

That might be true for  IPads and cool stuff, but it isn’t true for everything.  if it were, the government wouldn’t have to bribe people to buy Chevy Volts.

But I’ve been thinking about illegal drugs and the problems associated with them.  We have the spectacle of drug cartel killers murdering hundreds along the Mexican border with the U.S.; those killers appearing inside the U.S., and the constant increase in dangerous substances smuggled into the country.

Add to this the problems they create here: abuse, assault, murder, destroyed intellectual capacity, divorce, court-required psychiatric evaluations and drug rehab; increased border control, and fences to keep them out…  All of this court time, court-appointed legal counsel, foster care for the children; the robberies, purse snatches, B&E’s, the increased local, state, and federal policing - all of it is paid for with tax dollars confiscated from people who don’t use drugs.

We have treated the drug problem by making the fatal assumption that “supply creates it’s one demand.”  So the focus has been on trying to decrease the supply.

I’m wondering if the best answer to the drug problem isn’t to put U.S. residents who violate the drug laws in jail.  My guess is it wouldn’t cost any more than what it costs the way we’ve been doing it.  We don’t have to spend tons of money on these inmates.  Just create secure enclosures, temporary housing, and the other necessities somewhere in the desert states or the great plains states.  Keep the inmates fed, safe, and confined.  Away from drugs.  Consider it a kind of rehab.  

I think this is justified.  No, it’s essential.  Consider that communist revolutionaries in South America have murdered tens of thousands of people in the name of the revolution; and support their revolution by profiting from illegal drugs.  Mexico is close to being a failed state because of the corruption and violence and profitability of illegal drugs  sold in the U.S.  Al Qaeda and other terror groups profit from illegal drug trafficking to the U.S.  Think about this. 

The people who purchase these substances are participating in financially supporting all this criminal and terror activity.  That makes them legally accessories after the fact.  They are as guilty as those who sell blood diamonds, pawn stolen merchandise, or sell illegally obtained music or movies.  They should be prosecuted for these crimes.

When the public learns that it’s hard finding a job with a criminal record, that you missed out on college because you were either doing drugs or you were in jail; that if you reoffend a couple of times, you spend the rest of your life in that desert enclosure.  When people learn that there is a price to pay for stupidity and illegal activity, fewer people will choose to be stupid or illegal.

My guess is that when it comes to illegal drugs, we will have much more success if we stop the supply by ending the demand; not the other way around.