The Electric Commentary

Friday, April 28, 2006

Drug Prohibition and Mexico

Mary Anastasia O'Grady has an excellent column in today's Wall Street Journal (subscription only, unfortunately). Here's a snippet:

Nobel economist Douglas North taught us the importance of institutions in development economics. Yet prohibition and the war on drugs are fueling a criminal underworld that handily crushes nascent democratic institutions in countries that we keep expecting to develop. Is it reasonable to blame Mexico for what enormously well-funded organized-crime operations are doing to its political, judicial, and law enforcement bodies when we know that Al Capone's power during alcohol prohibition accomplished much the same in the U.S.? These are realities of the market, of supply and demand and prices under prohibition that no amount of wishing or moralizing can change.

A serious discussion about U.S. security interests has to begin by acknowledging the great cost of prohibition and the war on drugs to U.S. foreign policy objectives. A U.S. policy that unintentionally empowers brutal organized-crime rings is counterproductive to U.S. hopes for a stable and prosperous Latin America.

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