Drug War Winners and Losers
Publisher: Against the Current
Date Written: 01/07/2015
Year Published: 2015
Resource Type: Article
Cx Number: CX18057
A review of Dawn Paley's book "Drug War Capitalism."
Most independent analysts concluded long ago that the U.S. approach to fighting drugs was a failure from the perspective of curbing both drug production and drug-related violence. The favored policies -- heavy on militarization, criminalization and prisons, light on public health and economic alternatives -- have greatly exacerbated violence in supplier countries while swelling prison populations in all countries touched by it.
Moreover, the war on drugs has always been profoundly arbitrary and hypocritical in the drugs it targets. Alcohol and tobacco contribute to far more deaths each year than marijuana, for example.
Why, then, does the model continue in full force? A big reason, argues journalist Dawn Paley, is that so-called drug wars have proven enormously profitable to large capitalists, and useful to powerful sectors of the state apparatus, in countries like Colombia and Mexico (and their primary foreign sponsor, the United States).
At a time when estimates of the death toll from drug-related violence in Mexico alone over the past decade range as high as 200,000, Paley's analysis could not be more urgent.