There are lots of reasons to write blog posts. One of the earliest reasons for blog posts or even web pages was for future reference, to serve as a place for useful links. Over the last several days I’ve been doing some research on criminal gangs and I’ve decided to put my best finds here in case I want to look at them again.
This is a report from the FBI. Fundamental facts and figures.
This is a paper by Jonathan P. Caulkins and Michael Lee of Carnegie Mellon University.
The paper makes a number of interesting points:
We are willing to stipulate for the sake of argument that legalizing all drugs would in fact seriously weaken the DTOs, but nonetheless ask whether it is wise for Mexico to pin its hopes on the US taking such an action. This paper argues that five basic facts combine to answer this question in the negative; it is simply not in US interests to legalize the substances responsible for the bulk of the DTOs’ drug revenues. Since this conclusion favors a status quo that has become so intolerable from Mexico’s perspective, we close by speculating about some out of the box (“orthogonal”) ways for Mexico to think about its options.
The “five basic facts” are:
- Legalizing Marijuana Would Not Alter the Character of the Drug War
- Prohibition Drives Prices Up Far Above Legal Levels
- The Taxes Necessary to Prevent a Price Collapse are Uncollectable
- Drug Use Responds To Price
- Legalization Is an Irreversible Gamble
The whole thing is well worth reading.
DRUG BUSINESS IS NOT THE KEY TO GANGS AND ORGANIZED CRIME: WITH A PROGNOSIS FOR THE MEXICAN CARTEL WARS
This lengthy blog post, written by University of Pennsylvania sociologist Randall Collins, would be worth including if only for its substantial bibliography. His essential point is that there have been criminal gangs for centuries, predating the drug trade, and that criminal gangs are primarily social rather than economic in nature. They provide social affirmation, psychological support, and mutual defense. You can’t eliminate them by attacking their revenue streams but you might be able to by providing substitutes for the services they’re providing.
This is a rather famous paper produced by the “Freakonomics” guys.
I’ll include other references as I run across them.