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August 14, 2006


Mike Huben

It amazes me that Miron doesn't even see his own contradictions.

"Past attempts to eliminate drug trafficking have had no demonstrable success. After billions spent on interdiction and eradication over the past several decades, drugs are far cheaper and more readily available..."


"If drugs were legal, their prices would fall to competitive levels so there would be no excess profits to protect."

If we apply basic microeconomic theory (the same theory Miron applies to minimum wage, in defiance of the data), then obviously the government has been successful in keeping the supply down far enough to raise prices. And obviously allowing prices to fall would increase usage.

"Claims that use would skyrocket are scare tactics based on no evidence, but an honest defense of legalization must acknowledge that use could rise."

Under Miron's libertarian scheme, of course use would rise, even if the price remained the same: advertising drugs would be legal. New customers would be recruited with the ruthless efficiency of the cigarrette and alcohol industries.

And finally, a better argument is that terrorism is a much smaller problem (in terms of average number of deaths per year) than the current drug problem. Who then would want to make the bigger problem still larger to solve the small problem?

Terrorism costs almost nothing. Box cutters, plane tickets, and a few pilot lessons?

Fighting terrorisn by worrying about terrorist funding sources is misguided.

I agree with your point that drug prohibition helps terrorists more than it hurts, but the the stronger argument regarding drugs and terrorism is that they are quite unrelated.



Our host might be under the impression that prices can fall without falling all the way down to competitive levels.

Since both you and the commenter after you have offered very good alternative arguments, I'll offer one as well: Terrorism is inexpensive enough that even if all drug traffic could be eliminated, it wouldn't hurt the capabilities of terrorists in any significant way.

Matt Rognlie

From an American perspective, as Mike Huben notes, terrorism is a very small problem compared to drug use. Although terrorist attacks may kill thousands, drugs ravage millions of lives each year. Arguably, even small percentage changes in drug use dramatically outweigh changes in terrorism.

But other nations suffer far more from the destructive consequences of prohibition. Columbia, for instance, suffers regularly from guerilla warfare and kidnappings. A change in policy would make it indisputably better off.

So when enforcers of prohibition blame drugs for terrorism, they're more than a bit cynical. Ironically, they miss the main point: particularly in the United States, crime (another consequence of prohibition) is the far more damaging result. Disarray in our inner cities is directly traceable to drugs. Where else can criminal gangs, sans Mafia-style sophistication, find their money?

Despite a few reservations, I favor the phase-out of prohibition and its replacement with sizable Pigovian taxes to maintain a deterrent. Marijuana would be a great trail run.

Alan Brown

Anything that can be used as a reason why terrorism occurs and persists, other than its actual causes, can and will be used by this administration.

That drugs cause terrorism is just the latest delusion that they are suffering from. Perhaps drugs are causing them to think this way, but its more likely due to their own use of them than anything happening out in the real world.


First. Thank you Dr. Miron for all of your great work.

Illicit drugs don't cause terrorism. Illicit drugs facilitate and empower terrorism. Not simply the occasional random terrorism but stateless asymmetric terrorist armies are able to sustain themselves for years on end with untracable black market dollars.

And then there is asymmetric warfare such as the Madrid bombings. alQaeda has encouraged an off the shelf free standing indigenous cell method of operation that entails selling drugs within a target country to get untracable working capital.

Finally, there is the 'silent jihad'. alQaeda's rationale to its own fundamentalist religious supporters for flooding the west with heroin in order to destabilize out decadent western cultures. SEE: al Qaeda's success strategy - Silent Jihad -

As far as I am concerned if you support the drug wafr you support terrorism. See my blog, LeftIndependent blog for more on terror funding thanks to the drug prohibition. http://leftindependent.blogspot.com/


My LeftIndependent blog offering on this subject:



The invidious economics of Jim Crow


this is a great discussion to follow. the connection between drugs and terrorism or violence is real.
most suicide bombers , take psychoactive substance to alter their conscious ness to for them to be able to blow them selve up, besides the financial and technical benefits of the cash.
dr thompson ntuba


I also believe that legalizing drugs would not only end so much senseless violence, it could possibly ease our government's deficit tremendously if taxed.

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