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Narconomics


SpursRiot2012
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So, my latest book I'm reading is a book called Narconomics, which basically draws parallels between drug cartels and legitimate business.

One section in particular made me deeply consider any future use of, particularly, cocaine. But it applies to almost all drugs that (perhaps with the exception of weed, although that doesn't mean there is no violence in the growing, supply chain and distribution of weed in countries where it is still illegal) need to get from Columbia or Peru or wherever, onto Mexico and then into the US - and into the UK. Other parts of the world, too, I'm sure have gang drug violence but that tends to be more at the street level, retail side of things.

I know many here have partaken in illegal drug use, in the past. Myself, since I quit drinking, a few times a year I have to attend gatherings where booze is flowing freely and my social anxiety (not to mention being the only sober person at a party sucks) leads me to bringing along my own "party favours" and, more often than not, it's coke. Now, in the back of my mind, I've always known that me buying cocaine in London mignt have, however indirectly, contributed to the actual deaths of actual real human beings, but I was always able to keep that firmly in the back of my mind and once that first line is done, it's the last thing I'm thinking about. But something about the way this section was written really resonated with me so I am going to try and refrain from especially cocaine in the future.

I was just wondering if, either currently or when using coke in the past, these thoughts ever occured to you and, well, how you feel about it?

Here's the section from Narconomics I'm referring to.

IMG-20180913-WA0000.jpeg

Edited by SpursRiot2012
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Honestly, when i was battling my issues with coke this was the furthest thought from my mind, and is probably very similar to most other users. I genuinely didn't give a single fuck where it was coming from so long as it was coming to me.

As part of my recovery I've looked into the actual production and distribution of cocaine as a way of educating myself and hopefully building up that level of guilt so that should the urge to re-use become too strong I can use this information as another tool to say no.

The whole production,  distribution and everything else that goes on with all drugs, especially coke is absolutely terrifying.

I'll certainly be picking up this book to get another slant on it. Thanks for bringing this to my attention and everything else you've helped with.

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I'm clean now, and have been for several years, which has given me time to consider my stance on drug use from a reasonable distance.

I think it was George Monbiot who wrote a piece on how "there's no such thing as fair trade cocaine", which did a lot to change my mind, basically talking about how all his hippy eco-nut mates would wax lyrical about how ethically sourced all their produce was, then go off and snort coke that almost certainly came into their hands through practices they'd abhor in any other industry - before that, I had a reasonably wishy-washy, pseudo-libertarian "decriminalise all drugs" stance, and thought that drug users shouldn't be criminalised, only dealers. But you really have to tackle the supply chain at every step, and I don't think that's possible.

It's not something that factored into my decision to stop taking illegal drugs, but it's a good guilt trip to consider before I'd ever think of taking any again.

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Well the problem is decriminilastion is the best way to tackle it. Not just in this country though, but in the countries where is is produced. Unfortunately because it's not produced here there's no incentive to to do so here. And in the countries it is produced there's too much corruption to be able to do that; they're too far gone.

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To be honest, I emphasize a little bit now with the process. That being said when I'm buying some kecks from primark I don't think about the poor folks sitting in a warehouse somewhere in Asia working their fingers to the bone to manufacture them for next to fuck all in wages. We live in a shitty world, it's just the way it is. 

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13 minutes ago, BomberPat said:

I'm clean now, and have been for several years, which has given me time to consider my stance on drug use from a reasonable distance.

I think it was George Monbiot who wrote a piece on how "there's no such thing as fair trade cocaine", which did a lot to change my mind, basically talking about how all his hippy eco-nut mates would wax lyrical about how ethically sourced all their produce was, then go off and snort coke that almost certainly came into their hands through practices they'd abhor in any other industry - before that, I had a reasonably wishy-washy, pseudo-libertarian "decriminalise all drugs" stance, and thought that drug users shouldn't be criminalised, only dealers. But you really have to tackle the supply chain at every step, and I don't think that's possible.

It's not something that factored into my decision to stop taking illegal drugs, but it's a good guilt trip to consider before I'd ever think of taking any again.

This book actually argues that attacking the supply chain at any point before the drugs go from wholesale to retail is totally ineffective and a waste of money. If you attack the supply chain where the cost of losing, say, a kilo of cocaine goes up from $15,000 to $70,000, then you might start to hurt the cartels. But governments tend to focus at the source country, or at other early points along the supply chain where the cost of losing a kilo of cocaine is nothing to the cartels and doesn't tend to effect the price in the retail countries, thus it doesn't result in a drop of demand for the drug. But it also argues that even if the price of cocaine were to rise a bit, it wouldn't actually lead to many people dropping the drug at all. So, basically, supply side solutions have never and are never going to work.

The book argues generally for decriminalisation or legalization but it's main point is that government need to be targeting users, not dealers - at least, not top level dealers. That is, with rehab and detox centres, job programmes, proper prisoner rehabilitation, education and such so that you reduce the demand for the drug in the long term, causing the price to drop and the cartels to hopefully start finding trafficking cocaine more hassle than its worth.

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10 minutes ago, SpursRiot2012 said:

This book actually argues that attacking the supply chain at any point before the drugs go from wholesale to retail is totally ineffective and a waste of money. If you attack the supply chain where the cost of losing, say, a kilo of cocaine goes up from $15,000 to $70,000, then you might start to hurt the cartels. But governments tend to focus at the source country, or at other early points along the supply chain where the cost of losing a kilo of cocaine is nothing to the cartels and doesn't tend to effect the price in the retail countries, thus it doesn't result in a drop of demand for the drug. But it also argues that even if the price of cocaine were to rise a bit, it wouldn't actually lead to many people dropping the drug at all. So, basically, supply side solutions have never and are never going to work.

The book argues generally for decriminalisation or legalization but it's main point is that government need to be targeting users, not dealers - at least, not top level dealers. That is, with rehab and detox centres, job programmes, proper prisoner rehabilitation, education and such so that you reduce the demand for the drug in the long term, causing the price to drop and the cartels to hopefully start finding trafficking cocaine more hassle than its worth.

That last bit is true of pretty much everything. The most effective way to stop trade in something is to remove the market for it. Prime example is the illegal trade in ivory. People are still poaching elephants and rhinos because there are still "healers" in Asia who continue to peddle ground horn based on the lie that it's an aphrodisiac. And as long as there are customers still buying that bullshit, the poaching will continue until there are no elephants and rhinos left.

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17 minutes ago, Richard said:

To be honest, I emphasize a little bit now with the process. That being said when I'm buying some kecks from primark I don't think about the poor folks sitting in a warehouse somewhere in Asia working their fingers to the bone to manufacture them for next to fuck all in wages. We live in a shitty world, it's just the way it is. 

This is true and as I send this from my expensive phone that almost certainly some poor underpaid person made in terrible conditions I totally empathise with the point. However it does no harm to take small steps in helping improve some things. Just because you can't change the world doesn't mean you can't make it a bit better.

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you reckon Spursriot2012 is the figurehead to stop all these drug cartels then? You don't have to watch Narcos on netflix to realize South America is riddled with institutionalized corruption and cover-ups. Not forgetting the US government being complicit in such madness (https://www.nationalreview.com/2016/01/fast-furious-obama-first-scandal/). I definitely feel abstaining from the illegal drug trade and not partaking in such activities definitely sends a good message, but the underworld will continue to thrive as long as drugs, prostitution or whatever is in demand and criminalized. 

Until then, be a good samaritan if you wish, but it wont stop people like me buying Valium from the dark web. 

Edited by Richard
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28 minutes ago, Richard said:

you reckon Spursriot2012 is the figurehead to stop all these drug cartels then? 

Why on earth would any one think this? I just think that it won't do any harm to try and make the smallest of differences and just because one person won't eradicate the drug problem in South America it doesn't mean that that one person can't try to make that smallest of differences.

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2 minutes ago, Mr_Danger said:

Why on earth would any one think this? I just think that it won't do any harm to try and make the smallest of differences and just because one person won't eradicate the drug problem in South America it doesn't mean that that one person can't try to make that smallest of differences.

Not to mention that the real value in one person doing their bit is the snowball effect: the recognition that you're not alone, that your efforts are not doomed if you can see that others are trying and persuading others to join in. It doesn't always happen, but it does happen.

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It won't happen on this one. Too many addicts, too much money on the table. The amount of kids I see with coke in their pocket on a night out is beyond comprehension. Even if the coke appeal diminishes over the next few years, drug culture will shift to something else. The recreational use of benzodiazepines has skyrocketed in the last decade. You can raise awareness, doesn't mean anyone will listen. 

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Majority of people don't give a shite about how badly animals are treated in order to mass produce meat, eggs dairy etc. Ditto for gives brands like Nike using slave labour, and no Apple/iPhone consumer cares about the suicide nets the Chinese parts supplier was forced to erect to stop workers employed making iPhone components killing themselves. Cocaine is no different in that regard.

I work in probation and see the damage people do themselves, family and general public with legal and illegal drugs on a daily basis. I honestly don't know what can be done to solve the issue. Rehab and detox rarely seems to work in my experience and is costly and resource intensive. But neither does prison and the criminal justice system.

Edited by DCW
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