Be sure to work hard and get lots of overtime. People on welfare want more steaks and free upgrades to smart phones with unlimited data packages.
This conversation about drug legalization was long and wide ranging. One possible view is that gangs exist wherever there is poverty; if it isn't drugs, it's sugar or milk or whatever they can control. The essential ingredient for gangs, in this view, is a large supply of young men with few alternatives in the legal economy.
I've been thinking a lot about this over the last few days. It still seems to me that gangs are hard to support when there is good policing. Gangs flourish in places like Rio because the police force is corrupt and doesn't care about the favela inhabitants. They flourish in drugs and prostitution because contracts are not legally enforceable--if you can't sue to get the drugs you're owed, you need to use violence. Since there is safety in numbers, you get a gang.
As it happens, I'm reading The Bottom Billion, Paul Collier's excellent book on poverty traps in the developing world. As you can imagine, it has something to say on the subject of lawless bands of young men preying on the populace. A lot of it backs up the first position. "Civil war," Collier says, is much more likely to break out in low-income countries: halve the starting income of the country and you double the risk of civil war."
. . . according to psychologists, on average about 3 percent of any population have psychopathic tendencies, so you can be sure that some of those in the recruitment line will be psychopaths. Others will be attracted by the prospect of power and riches, however unlikely; if the reality of daily existence is otherwise awful, the chances of success to not have to be very high to be alluring. Even a small chance of the good life as a successful rebel becomes worth taking, despite the high risk of death, because the prospect of death is not so much worse than the prospect of life in poverty.
So what characteristics did make people more likely to engage in political violence? Well, the three big ones were being young, being uneducated, and being without dependents. Try as one might, it is difficult to reconcile these characteristics of recruitment with an image of a vanguard of fighters for social justice.
So at least in the early stages, this seems to indicate that legalizing drugs wouldn't reduce crime too much; indeed, by disrupting a somewhat stable market, it might increase crime.
And where are the violent groups most likely to form? One might think it would be in the districts that are most deprived of social amenities, for that is supposedly what it is all about--oil wealth being stolen by the oil companies and the federal government instead of being used for the benefit of local communities. But Aderoju found that . . . there was no relationship between the social amenities that a district possessed and its propensity to political violence. Instead, the violence occurred in the districts with oil wells.
On the one hand you argued that the drug wars implied huge wasted rents leading to crime. On the other you cite Levitt etc on the low returns to drug dealing. These two positions cannot be reconciled. If there are mostly winner take all rents in drug dealing, and the average returns are small, then the artificial rents due to drug control cannot, ipso facto, be large. Thus, one has to ask, if small rents with winner-take-all markets are sufficient to generate this huge amount of crime, then (probably) smaller rents due to legalization (and having to find substitutes) should still be sufficient to generate gang problems in the absence of a cure to the policing problems in poor areas with dysfunctional groups.....snip~
Do drugs make gangs, or do gangs make drugs? - Megan McArdle - The Atlantic
Whatcha thinks DH?
Last edited by MMC; 06-17-13 at 10:26 AM.
Moreover I have listened to What they have to say even with the most ridiculous means on those coming to take them out. Truly some of the most absurd things you can hear people say.