Thursday, December 31, 2009
"IF THERE is one thing that politicians can and should do to limit the damage caused by illegal drugs, it is to take careful note of the evidence and develop a rational drug policy. Some politicians find it easier to ignore the evidence, and pander to public prejudice instead.And Nutt's actual offense? Repeating in public that there's substantial evidence demonstrating alcohol and tobacco to be far more harmful than either cannabis or ecstasy. Which is the other problem for the government (ours or the UK's), they can't or won't be rational about drug use. Politicians stand up pointing out that a drug addict needs to burgle houses or commit armed robberies to raise the $1,000 a week or so without apparently asking themselves why that addict is
“I can trace the beginning of the end of my role as chairman of the UK's official advisory body on drugs to the moment I quoted a New Scientist editorial (14 February, p 5). Entitled, fittingly enough, 'Drugs drive politicians out of their minds', the editorial asked the reader to imagine being seated at a table with two bowls, one containing peanuts, the other the illegal drug MDMA (ecstasy). Which is safer to give to a stranger? Why, the ecstasy of course."3
- Willing to pay $1,000 a week for the drug, and
- Forced to pay that much
Answering the second part is easier than the first. The addict needs to pay $1,000 for drugs that probably netted 3 or 4 dollars for the original grower somewhere in the third world because of a combination of the massive drug enforcement regimes by our government (and similar governments overseas) and a ruthlessly enforced monopoly by the illegal drugs cartels.
If the government wants to stop drug use, their only option is to ruthlessly go after the users. Lock them up in rehabilitation until they are "clean" and if they relapse, lock them up again. Keep doing this until they choose to stay clean. Deprived of the users, the criminal gangs will soon switch to other black market activities. I doubt that our government has the guts to do this, so the addicts will continue to consume drugs.
The other part of the equation is that $1,000 a week, per addict, going into the crime cartels. If you want to stop that without forcing the addicts to stop buying drugs, the answer is simple: Supply the addicts with clean, pure, drugs at a reasonable cost. The UK has done this off-and on for decades with heroin. When they are brave enough to supply addicts with medical morphine, crime goes down, when they force the addicts back into the black market, crime goes up. The addicts don't go away, and when they are being supplied through the black market, the black market exists and has "samples" for potential customers.
I wish our politicians would acquire the strength to face up to the facts about drugs and stop the hysterical, usually meaningless, and ultimately futile efforts they make against the supply side ... the demand side is where you need to focus your efforts.
Friday, December 18, 2009
"Jobs generally get more difficult the higher up any ladder you climb, most people only come equipped with a more or less fixed level of talent that corresponds to their intelligence, knowledge and energy. At some point, then, they will be promoted into a job they can't quite handle. They will, as Peter and Hull put it, 'reach the level of their own incompetence'. And there they will stay, fouling up operations until they either retire or some egregiously inept act gets them fired.
"The problem is what they get up to in the meantime. "They end up distracting us from their crummy work with giant desks," says Robert Sutton of the Stanford Graduate School of Business in California. "They replace action with incomprehensible acronyms, blame others for failure, and cheat to create the illusion of progress." Meanwhile, Peter and Hull concluded, the actual work gets done by those who have not yet scaled the summit of their own incompetence. That would be you and me, then."