Economic Facts and Fallacies

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Nanos
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Post by Nanos »

One might ask the question, using alcohol as an excellent example, of ok, lets say we made illegal drugs legal, what then to deal with the fallout issues from that ?

What solutions could you employ to say dealing with the issues we have from drink ?

eg. violent crime, health issues ?

MSimon
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Post by MSimon »

JohnSmith wrote:I wasn't arguing that. Just answering a question.

But now you get to answer my riddle.
Why do we need a doctor's prescription to get the stronger drugs and painkillers?
Moral panic. Which is a form of bigotry.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moral_panic

A common tactic for getting political results otherwise unavailable.

===

BTW you haven't answered my question as to the difference between dr supplied drugs and drugs you grow in your backyard. All you have told me is that prohibition draws adulterated drugs into the market. So you have indicted prohibition not the drugs.

Please try again. I'm still waiting for an answer. You could be first.
Engineering is the art of making what you want from what you can get at a profit.

MSimon
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Post by MSimon »

And as long as I'm asking questions:

What common drug legal or illegal is most associated with anti-social behavior?

The answer to that question will tell us if we have a "moral panic" or a real problem.
Engineering is the art of making what you want from what you can get at a profit.

jmc
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Post by jmc »

MSimon wrote: ***********1**********************************
I think I've made my point, that while many illicit drugs have medical merit and should perhaps be prescribed more, in certain extreme cases to people suffering trauma, and in other cases where the medicinal qualities could enhance peoples lot. Indiscriminatedly flooding society with readily available narcotics would be both detrimental and disastrous.
That sure worked well with alcohol prohibition.

As to poor countries: look at the narco democracies South of our border. That does not seem to be working. In fact the armed attacks on our border from Mexico seem to be increasing.

*********************2**************************

BTW the idea that "drug taking is wrong" was what motivated alcohol prohibition. And a few years previous drug prohibition. And you know there was a place on this earth where a lot of people were taught capitalism was wrong and they operated on that theory for some 70 years.

*************************3***************************
I'm from the minimalist school of government - i.e. you can't prevent people from harming themselves. Any attempt will lead to totalitarianism. Which we see in the shredding of the 4th Amdmt. You are safe in your home and person from government intrusion except if they are looking for drugs. And when aren't they looking for drugs?

There are two classes of crimes: malum per se and malum prohibitum. The second class are very hard to police because it is hard to get a complaining witness. You know: vices vs crimes.

But hey. If you are content with the drug war financing criminals and terrorists - have fun. Not to mention financing smugglers to get experience evading border controls. A lot of benefit there.

********************4******************************

Milton Friedman called drug prohibition a socialist enterprise: price supports for criminals. If you tell me you are a socialist I will understand.

http://www.druglibrary.org/special/frie ... ialist.htm

If you tell me you are a market oriented capitalist I'd have to say that you don't understand your own contradictions. i.e. what makes a pile of vegetables worth its weight in gold?

******************5************************************

In any case the idea that "drugs/alcohol are bad" is a religious belief. Not all religions hold to that view. That view was popularly agitated for by "progressives" - you know. Socialists by a different name.

***********************6********************************

BTW you might want to look at some of the recent work done in co-operation with the US Government on using psychedelic drugs in the treatment of mental problems and end of life issues. MDMA is frequently used. As is psylocibin. Occasionally LSD.

**********************7********************************

So let me go back and recap:

1. You can only get addicted if you need drugs.
2. Casual users are not a problem because they only dabble and then quit.

So explain your hatred of drugs? Is it because such hate is socially acceptable and most every one needs their two minutes of hate a day?

***********************8*******************************

Please explain how the country survived from its founding until 1914 when opiates were freely available?

***********************9******************************
from the wiki on heroin:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heroin
From 1898 through to 1910 heroin was marketed as a non-addictive morphine substitute and cough suppressant.
Now why would they think that? Could it be that most folks who used it medicinally didn't become addicted? Just as I have been claiming all along? Drugs do not cause addiction.

Let me add: heroin was an over the counter drug.

Let me mention that heroin was tried on about 10 people in its first clinical trial. None of them became addicted. So that is where the idea came from. If it was universally addicting some one would have noticed.

************************10***************************

In addition if opiates were so universally recognized as bad why did the general agitation and enactment of Federal laws only come about in the early 20th century along with similar agitation for alcohol prohibition?

What we don't know is not nearly as dangerous as what we know that ain't so.

I must say that prohibition is the very model of a government program. It attempts to solve a problem by methods guaranteed to make the problem worse. After 90+ years of trying only a true believer could say otherwise. Marxists have the same problem. Doesn't stop them either.

As we have made enforcement more draconian the problems have only gotten worse.

You might like to read this history: assuming you want to learn history.

http://www.druglibrary.org/schaffer/History/whiteb1.htm

It is a talk given to a convention of judges. A similar talk was once given to the FBI. The guy is not a flake.
1) Alchohol prohibition didn't work in America because of its Christian roots. Jesus turned water into wine, wine is served in communion. The religion which most of the US believe has throughout its pages and continual theme of using wine routinely, even conferring a holy meaning to it.

People draw upon their religion for their sense of right and wrong. If you pass a law counter to the religion of the masses, then the masses will consider that law to be wrong and flout it and every turn.

Islam forbids alchohol at a religious level, thus in Islamic countries there is a greater consensus that the banning of alchohol is just, which makes prohibition more tenable. How many Iranian alchoholics do you know?

If anything mexico has decriminalized drug use rather than increased its levels of prohibition.

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/04/29/world ... exico.html

Having said that I think I agree with not throwing small time addicts in jail. But the real problem is corruption in law enforcement. Once you get that at a high enough level and police lose their sense of duty. All laws become unworkable and justice goes out the window.

2) Here you seem to just be stating that most people can sometimes be wrong, "people once said heavier than air flight was impossible", etc. I think we should stick to the point on whether legaliation is good or bad rather than just quoting random truisms.

3) Vice is certainly harder to deal with due to the fact that the people who it affects directly tend not to complain about it. An the people who it affects indirectly, (friends, partner children of the addict) while they object tend not to want to see their loved one in jail and are afraid to tell the police about the dealer for fear of the anger of the addict.

Having said that every vice industry must attract new customers. This makes them vulnerable to undercover operations. Its not impossible to stamp it out though. It would require a great deal more intelligence. This would reduce overall levels of privacy, yes. If the alternative is people lives being destroyed by drugs, families getting torn apart crime and social decay, then it might be worth it. In anycase if you can safeguard basic freedoms by law, freedom of speech, freedom of association etc. , then intelligence on the part of the legal authourities is not such a bad thing. In order to have a functional justice system there must be a means of gathering evidence to determine whether people are innocent or guilty. If you increase privacy to the extent that the evidence necessary to determine someone's innocence or guilt is impossible to obtain then justice suffers.

I think minimalist government vs totalitarianism is an oversimplification, something in the middle is better.

Regarding financing criminals and terrorists, I agree that it would be better not to wage a war on drugs at all than to lose it, but winning it would be best of all. Should we just capitulate in the face of all adversity and evil? Even if we made drugs legal while those who traffic them might not be quite as violent or desperate, they would become more rich and powerful. Take tobacco, the legalization of tobacco allowed enormous multinationals to emerge who funded government and had the resources to fund massive programmes of disinformation on the health consequences of tobacco long after they were uncovered, supressing papers by respected physicians on the harmful side affects of smoking.

4)I listened to Milton Friedman on "The Corportion" last night, apparently he wants fire services to be privatized. He went on about how big government is bad and how their responsible for all the ills in society and how we'd be so much better without it. But I didn't get any impression that his alternative corporate vision would solve any of those ills.

I do understand capitalism. I understand that if you make something scarce on the supply side, its price goes up, this increases profit margins for suppliers and produces and increased incentive to manufacture and sell the product increases.

I also understand that as the price goes up demand goes down if you want to stop people from taking drugs, then pushing up prices is a good way of doing this. My housemate is addicted to crack cocaine and he says the single biggest factor which stops him from taking more is the prohibitively high price. He's trying to give up and hasn't taken any in several months, the way he manages this is to voluntarily give all his money away to random people so that even if he gets a craving, he can't afford to purchase the drug.

In addition to this, even if price goes up profit which companies, including drug cartels, recieve i proportional to price times volume. If you can keep volumes they sell low then their profits can be reduced even if the profit per product sold increases.

Finally there are economies of scale and the learning curve. As an industry grows, the price to product a given product decreases. Which means the smaller illegal drug producers can be kept, the higher the price it will be to produce their drugs, this in turn will reduce overall drug profits.

So using all this "supply and demand" rhetoric to say that clamping down on drugs won't reduce abuse is hogwash. The reason drugs are a problem is recisely because we didn't clamp down on them hard enough in the first place and now they've reached the critical mass needed to become sophisticated organised cartels. If we legalized recreational drugs you'll just create multinational Heroine and Cocaine giants like Fosters or Malboro, who will be completely beyond the law and will even fund and bribe politicians to change it.

By the way an addictive substance creates its own demand, addicts encourage more people to take it some of whom become addicted themselves and so the behaviour, the demand, and the profit become ever greater. The less available drugs are made the more people will shake off their habit.

5) Christianity says alchohol was acceptable. One of the reasons prohibition in the US did not work.

6) I have no problem with highly educated professionals prescribing the use of specific pyschoactive drugs in specific doses in specific circumstances where their use is deamed to be beneficial. But that is a world away from letting every Tom, Dick and Harry use them willy-nilly for laughs.

7) I disagree with point 1) it is perfectly possible for someone who is disposed to getting addicted to get addicted regardless of their "needs". You showed me a dramatic study about sexual trauma and heroine abuse. But heroine has a huge social stigma. Have you similar evidence that this is overwhelmingly the case for alchohol, tobacco, marujana, amphetemines, cocaine? In addition I disagree that even those who suffered trauma, except in the worst cases, need the drugs. The best thing to do is to face up to problems in life rather than to run away from them. But again for those who really need it there is perscription from a skilled physician.

8 I imagine the reason is because the drugs weren't mass produced in those days except for alchohol and tobacco. Drugs like cannibis and the like were reserved for the aristocracy. People worked more, had longer hours and larger families they had too many obligations and responsibilities just to make ends meet to make room for drugs on a mass scale. There less social wellfare so if you lost your job you were in deep trouble, there was a greater stigma against profligacy, fornication and decadence.

Inspite of this opiates were a big problem. Many authors wrote of the wasting, corrupting, disipative influence these pernicious drugs had on those that used them, of peoples lives being destroyed as a result. Opium dens were viewed as places of evil, refuges for undesirables even when they were legal.

China waged war against the most powerful nation on Earth at the time, just to get rid of opium. If that's not a vote of no confidence for the drug I don't know what is.

9) Yes heroine was an over the counter drug for ten years. During this time it was put in cough syrrup. The people gradually began to notice that some people bought more and more cough syrrup even when they didn't have a cough. So great was the craving of these people that they couldn't hold down jobs properly. Some resorted to scavenging juk from scrap yards to sell in order to make enough money to fund their habits which is where the phrase "junky" came from. That's why the government decided to ban it.

I'm sure if you took a low enough dose of heroine you wouldn't get addicted, its people who go over the threshold and lose control of themselves, which are the real victims of the drug, and they suffer because of their addiction, they don't benefit from it as you would suppose. Such people would be better off never to have taken drugs in the first place.

10) I couldn't access your link from my computer. In addition we haven't made enforcement more draconian, the lawyers have seen to it that the process of conviction is now more convoluted then it ever was before. This is the reason why the war on drugs is failing, because were not fighting fiercely enough, and we're distracting ourselves to much with convicting drug users when we should be focussing on the dealers and killing them there and then, no questions asked.
Last edited by jmc on Fri Aug 22, 2008 12:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.

jmc
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Post by jmc »

MSimon wrote: BTW riddle me this. If doctors prescribe medicines to fill a certain receptor and you can buy drugs on the street that fill those same receptors - what is the objective difference? No one has ever given me a satisfactory answer to that question. You could be the first.
I already riddled you that, if you look through my previous posts.

What's the difference between taking 1 paracetomol for a headache and 200 to commit suicide?

JohnSmith
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Post by JohnSmith »

Prescription drugs are not because of bigotry, they're because people are stupid.

Take the notion of informed consent. Most doctors agree that it's nonsense, that an untrained person can't or won't understand the risk/reward profile of a treatment. In the end, they have to trust that the doctor knows what he's doing.

Same with prescription drugs. People don't or won't take the time to learn enough about complex interactions and side effects.

Oy, jmc. I think I'll avoid visiting the police state you envision. Police killing drug dealers on sight?
'I was sure he had some on him!'

Nanos
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Post by Nanos »

> I think I'll avoid visiting the police state you envision

I think I'd much prefer it to the current state I'm living in at the moment where the criminals run the streets and can shoot who they like and get away with it.


> How many Iranian alchoholics do you know?

Interestingly, it took me a long time to find a girlfriend who doesn't drink in todays society, her family roots are from Iran!

TallDave
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Post by TallDave »

Nanos,

If it weren't for the billions criminals make from our drug laws (which grant them a hugely profitable monopoly) the streets would be a lot safer.

Creating a black market in which there is no recourse to normal conflict-resolution mechanisms is a recipe for violence on a massive scale, because it's a setup under which the most ruthless and violent best prosper.
n*kBolt*Te = B**2/(2*mu0) and B^.25 loss scaling? Or not so much? Hopefully we'll know soon...

TallDave
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Post by TallDave »

Islam forbids alchohol at a religious level, thus in Islamic countries there is a greater consensus that the banning of alchohol is just, which makes prohibition more tenable. How many Iranian alchoholics do you know?
Do you really think prohibition works any better in Iran than anywhere else?
Ten people have died after drinking homemade hooch in a holy city in Iran, where the consumption of all alcohol is banned, the Kayhan newspaper reported on Sunday.

It is not the first time that toxic moonshine has claimed lives in Iran, an Islamic country where the production and consumption of alcohol is generally strictly prohibited.

In May 2006, 15 people died from alcohol poisoning in the southern city of Sirjan, while in June 2004 it was reported that 22 Iranians died of the same cause in the southern city of Shiraz

Newspapers reported on Sunday that 46,000 cans of beer had been seized and destroyed in the capital in recent months.

Home distilled spirits sell for far less than smuggled foreign brands and are the tipple of choice in poorer neighbourhoods, but the use of industrial chemicals in their production sometimes poses serious health risks
http://www.khaleejtimes.com/DisplayArti ... eeast&col=
n*kBolt*Te = B**2/(2*mu0) and B^.25 loss scaling? Or not so much? Hopefully we'll know soon...

hanelyp
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Post by hanelyp »

What do people think of a drinking license, revokeable if you prove to be a problem drinker?

Mumbles
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Rights vs. Privledges...

Post by Mumbles »

hanelyp wrote:What do people think of a drinking license, revokeable if you prove to be a problem drinker?
(Turn on sarcasm shield before you go further...)

I'm all for that. Just have your national ID card, with the RFID tag so the police can scan you from a distance, and tell if you have your driving, drinking, fishing, dog owning, gun permit, child bearing permit, voting permit... Are you a Citizen, or a Civilian?

(Sarcasm off, and my appologies to Heinlen)

I actually had been thinking of the same idea (the drinking license) after scanning some of this other discussion earlier today. I am sure there is some Constitutional issue here. Maybe keep this idea for when we create the laws on the (insert favorite off-Earth destination) lunar/martian/ceres/Titan colony... We just have to solve that whole fusion rocket problem first!!

(I guess the libertarians amongs us are cringing on the whole government intrusion into individual lives part about this...?)

Be Safe
Mumbles

[Edited for spelling. Not my strong point!]

Nanos
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Post by Nanos »

> If it weren't for the billions criminals make from our drug laws (which
> grant them a hugely profitable monopoly) the streets would be a
> lot safer.

Agreed, though the majority of times I've been beaten up in the street (3 times once in a single day on the way to the shops!) it tended to be by those in various stages of drunkeness..


Which is one of the big reasons I moved to very religious area in an effort to get away from drunk yobs on every street corner.

But now, even this area is going downhill, but I'm not sure why, is it because more shops selling cheap booze are allowed licenses to open in the area... ?


I'm not sure anyones really addressed the issue of, ok lets make drugs legal and then we end up with another alcohol type problem, so what do we do then ?

Or will drugs be less of an issue than alcohol ?

I'm not sure, is laziness caused by smoking weed, is violent paranoia a side effect that effects many or just the ones I've met ?


I have the benefit of being able to step from one world with drink and drugs to another next door, even though its shrinking, there is still a huge difference in the way people behave that makes me think we are better off without them.

dweigert
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Post by dweigert »

Violent paranoia is, as a "rule", caused by other things mixed with the cannabis. For instance, PCP is a common thing to mix. *Shudder*

Dan

TallDave
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Post by TallDave »

I'm not sure anyones really addressed the issue of, ok lets make drugs legal and then we end up with another alcohol type problem, so what do we do then ?


As with alcohol, it's not as bad as the problems making drugs illegal causes.

It's very problematic to ban consensual transactions in a free society.
n*kBolt*Te = B**2/(2*mu0) and B^.25 loss scaling? Or not so much? Hopefully we'll know soon...

MSimon
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Post by MSimon »

I also understand that as the price goes up demand goes down if you want to stop people from taking drugs, then pushing up prices is a good way of doing this. My housemate is addicted to crack cocaine and he says the single biggest factor which stops him from taking more is the prohibitively high price. He's trying to give up and hasn't taken any in several months, the way he manages this is to voluntarily give all his money away to random people so that even if he gets a craving, he can't afford to purchase the drug.
That might work with something where supply and demand are elastic. Now how about something like food? There will be a minimum demand no matter what the price. The price has to get very high before demand goes to anything like zero. With drugs you have the same problem. You can drive the dabblers out of the market. You can't drive those with need out of the market with any kind of price prohibition can create.

And yeah. Intelligence (spies) could work. The USSR tried that system to stamp out capitalism. People were spying on each other and the level of trust required to operate a modern society was destroyed. They still haven't recovered.

Let me recap:

The brain has receptors. The body creates chemicals to fill those receptors. If you have a deficiency a doctor can prescribe chemicals to fill those receptors. If you buy chemicals to fill those receptors from other than approved channels you are a criminal.

We have tried for 90+ years to destroy the black market for opiates with ever more draconian penalties. At the beginning you had 1.8% of the population using unapproved opiates to some degree. Currently we have 1.8% of the population using unapproved opiates to some degree.

What will it take?

BTW the price of opiates on the black market has steadily declined. It is now something like 600X less expensive per unit over the last 50 years. Why hasn't use gone up? That tells us the supply/demand curve is essentially flat. Gee. It seems like stiffer enforcement and declines in prices hasn't changed anything.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iron_Law_of_Prohibition
The Iron Law of Prohibition is a term coined by Richard Cowan which states that "the more intense the law enforcement, the more potent the prohibited substance becomes." This is based on the premise that when drugs or alcohol are prohibited, they will be produced only in black markets in their most concentrated and powerful forms. If all alcohol beverages are prohibited, a bootlegger will be more profitable if he smuggles highly distilled liquors than if he smuggles the same volume of small beer. In addition, the black-market goods are more likely to be adulterated with unknown or dangerous substances. The government cannot regulate and inspect the production process, and harmed consumers have no recourse in law.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y29cDyemV6U

====

Part 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zEyKAzXqVkA

Part 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gbI6HbOS ... re=related

Part 3: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=leg3_gcE ... re=related

====

Part 1 discusses the decline in price. About 8 or 9 minutes in.

The whole war on drugs is based on fantasies piled on fantasies. Who can believe the carp any more? Not rational people (well as we know there are darn few of those). So what is left? Religious fanatics. And as we know the world is full of those.
Engineering is the art of making what you want from what you can get at a profit.

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