Mexican Drug Trade Violence Approaching "Record Levels"

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Sunday saw another article on the worrisome level of drug trade violence plaguing Mexico. (The link is to the Arizona Daily Star -- the web page attributes to the Dallas Morning News, but I could not find it on the DMN web site -- let us know if you spot it there.) The tone was ominous:
The scale of the lawlessness, its geographical reach, and the apparent inability of the government to keep it in check threaten Mexico's political stability, some analysts warn.
Analyst Javier Ibarrola of the Milenio newspaper says it is worse than it has ever been:
"I have never seen anything like this, ever," Ibarrola said. "The (narcos) have the field wide open to them."
Danger existing to judges and politicians evokes memories of Pablo Escobar's reign of terror in Colombia in the 1990s. The article did not mention prohibition or the many Mexican leaders and intellectuals who believe legalization is necessary to stop the violence of the drug trade and the corrupting effect it has on the nation's institutions. Click on the letter to the editor link at the bottom of the article's web page -- please send us a copy too.
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Mexico
Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
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dguard's picture

The Bottom Line

When I was in graduate school, one of my economics professors constantly used the War on Drugs as the classic example of failed interventionalist government policy. Not only is drug prohibition a waste of money (directly), but the negative externalities of the policies involved cost us a lot more (indirectly).

Consider these three paragraphs from the article:

The historic level of drug violence not only threatens Mexican judges and politicians, who once were immune, but also American tourists and U.S. investors, as the cartels move into vacation corridors such as Acapulco-Zihuatanejo on the Pacific Coast and Morelia-Uruapan in the central state of Michoacan.

A Dallas businessman recently pulled out of a $40 million project near the Zihuatanejo resort.

"We didn't think this was the right moment," said Carol Davenport, a real estate agent from Arlington, Texas, now working in Mexico, who represented the businessman. "The dire situation didn't exactly inspire investor confidence," she added, referring to a rash of killings in the area.

Remember, this is just one business decision made by one company in one place where drug prohibition negatively affects the market. Think about the hundreds of thousands or millions of places all over the world where drug prohibition is having a chilling effect on businesses and the communities that surround them. For more on this subject, I invite you all to check out the free Drugs and Economics Memo published quarterly by the Criminal Justice Policy Foundation (CJFP) at http://www.cjpf.org/newsletter/index.html.

- David A. Guard

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