Thursday, June 07, 2012

Following the (drug) money to the banks

A new study by Colombian economists, Alejandro Gaviria and Daniel Mejía, reported in The Guardian (UK), points out that most cocaine proceeds never get to Colombia, but the price in violence is high.

On co-author, Daniel Mejía told the Observer [a UK paper]:

"The way I try to put it is this: prohibition is a transfer of the cost of the drug problem from the consuming to the producing countries."

"If countries like Colombia benefitted economically from the drug trade, there would be a certain sense in it all," said Gaviria. "Instead, we have paid the highest price for someone else's profits – Colombia until recently, and now Mexico.

"I put it to Americans like this – suppose all cocaine consumption in the US disappeared and went to Canada. Would Americans be happy to see the homicide rates in Seattle skyrocket in order to prevent the cocaine and the money going to Canada? That way they start to understand for a moment the cost to Colombia and Mexico."

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