'Detaining the Wind'

The New York Times reports that drug warriors, having spent billions of taxpayer dollars and sacrificed innocent lives to push coca production from Peru to Colombia, are now pushing it from Colombia to Peru, all while having no discernible impact on cocaine consumption. Guess what the next phase of this glorious struggle will be.

"In response to law enforcement pressure in one area," says the director of the narcotic affairs section at the U.S. Embassy in Lima, "drug cultivators and traffickers switch operations to new territories." The general in charge of coca eradication in Peru says "the struggle against coca can resemble detaining the wind." The New York Times notes that prohibition-related profits are funding a comeback for the Shining Path, "the rebel group held responsible for tens of thousands of deaths from 1980 to 2000 during its war against the government."

On the bright side, says Paul Gootenberg, author of Andean Cocaine, "Washington's policy of supply-oriented intervention inevitably improves the efficiencies and entrepreneurial skills of traffickers." Meanwhile, the balloon effect allows prohibitionists to declare an endless series of victories in their perpetual war.

Addendum: Here is a chart showing cocaine use by Americans, as measured by government-sponsored surveys, between 1979 and 2008. These are the percentages reporting cocaine use in the previous year and the previous month. Not surprisingly, there is no disernible downward trend associated with coca eradication in Peru and Colombia.

[Note: The apparent increase between 2001 and 2002, when the survey was revamped, may reflect methodological changes aimed at encouraging more candid responses. There are gaps in the pre-1990 numbers because of an earlier methodological change that required recalculation. These are the numbers listed in a 1995 report of results from the National Household Survey on Drug Abuse.]

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  • ||

    "the struggle against coca can resemble detaining the wind."

    Green jobs- it's a win-win!

  • Tim||

    All we need is more time and more money.

  • Max||

    If government banned libertarian magazines, would it improve the entrepreneurial skills of libertarian hacks enough that they could stop begging for donations?

  • affenkopf||

    No, but libertarian writers from different sites/magazines would start shooting each other to gain marketshare. I presume the lewrockwell writers have way more firepower than reason writers on average.

  • ||

    I lived on a small sailboat for many years and my wind generator was the second most useful item on my boat, second only to my water maker.


  • Tim||

    That singularity can't come fast enough for you, can it little botty?

  • Astrid||


  • robc||

    Hard to add it up exactly, but it appears total production is less now than in 1988.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    I agree with Sullum's implications here. The WoD should redouble its efforts focusing on putting drug consumers behind bars.

  • Tim||

    NO! Targeted assinations! Drones! Agent Orange!

  • Brian E||

    So Epi and Warty, now that you've had a chance to try some of this magical "nutrient-infused" coca tea, I've got one question for you: if this stuff was sold in every Starbucks, would we be in a recession right now?

  • Warty||

    Productivity would quadruple, dude. This shit is great.

  • ||

    What effect does it have on "foolhardiness"?

  • ||

    So what brand are you guys ingesting?

  • Warty||

    Inka Delisse, I think it's called. Look on Amazon for a listing with a review that says it made the reviewer fail a drug test; then you know you have a winner.

  • ||

    it appears total production is less now than in 1988.

    I didn't even look, but could it be that fewer acres are producing more product?

  • robc||

    Ah, didnt notice that was acreage, assumed it was drug output.

    Very well could be.

  • ||

  • Coca Eradicator||

    "...the struggle against coca can resemble detaining pissing in the wind."

  • Joe_D||

    These drug warriors deserve a lot of credit. They've found a way to fight a perpetual war while being supported by the majority of Americans. They're also ensuring job security for loads of people (military, cops, prison guards, etc.). And politicians get something to grandstand about. As a bonus, lots of brown people die.

    They're evil, but clever.

  • Astrid||

    Oceania has always been at war with Eastasia.

  • ||

    They need some REGIME CHANGE!!!

    SHOCK and AWE!!!


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