Chart of the day

Nice Harold Pollack piece in Wonkblog of the failure of our supply-side driven (i.e., hopeless attempts to limit supply) war on drugs.  Simple truth is that humans are simply too ingenious when there’s this much money to be made.  Not to mention, the evidence across time and culture that many, many humans really value altering their psychological state via chemicals.  Anyway, the failure is quite dramatically summed up in the price of drugs:

embarrassing drug graph

Pollack writes

In 2001, the National Academy of Sciences concluded: “Neither the data systems nor the research infrastructure needed to assess the effectiveness of drug control enforcement policies now exists.”  That remains true today, 12 years and hundreds of billions of dollars later.

but I must be missing his point.  Given the law of supply and demand and how it relates to price, I would suggest that this graph is all we need (not quite, but goes along way) to assess the effectiveness of current drug control enforcement policies.  In short, stunningly ineffective.  Not to suggest full legalization, but it is quite clear that locking up ever more people for drug use and trying to limit supply are both failed policies.

About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State

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