Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
Display:
Very good study on prohibition and its historical context.

Some points from it: Prohibition did lower alcohol consumption and had lasting effects in those who came at age during it. The prohibition was much more severe then its supporters understood, in that it banned all sales of alcohol, closing the common loophole in dry communities -  ordering it from somewhere else and drinking it in the privacy of your own home. As such it was it was perceived as undemocratic and oppressive.

Opposition arose and in particular the cultural meaning of drinking alcoholic beverages changed to something rebellious. But this opposition was not succesful in changing prohibition.

Then the great depression struck and priorities changed. Taxing alcohol to pay for new programs became important and thus alcohol was de-criminalized. Organised crime moved on to other pursuits.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Fri Jan 11th, 2008 at 03:24:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So if we applied this by analogy to hard drugs (always a dodgy logic, but anyway...) it means that if hard drugs were decriminalised, usage would go up, government revenues would go up, and the costs of crime might not necessarily go down as criminals would move on to other lines of business???

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Jan 11th, 2008 at 03:31:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
criminals would move on to other lines of business
So, now we are assuming that (all) criminals are some distinct set of people who do crime for its own sake (cause they like to break the law) and not in large part circumstancial criminals?
The best treatment for addiction: free heroin - Independent Online Edition > Johann Hari

Half of all burglaries are, according to the Home Office, committed by people riven by opiate dependency.
...
The Swiss experiment has seen a staggering fall in crime - over 20 per cent in some areas. As one heroin addict who asked not to be named explained to me, "Of course, I stopped stealing when I got a prescription. I wasn't doing it for fun."

by someone (s0me1smail(a)gmail(d)com) on Fri Jan 11th, 2008 at 03:50:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Now you're over-reacting: "other lines of business" doesn't necessarily mean other crimes.

We have met the enemy, and he is us — Pogo
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jan 11th, 2008 at 03:53:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
should have quoted more:
the costs of crime might not necessarily go down as criminals would move on to other lines of business?
by someone (s0me1smail(a)gmail(d)com) on Fri Jan 11th, 2008 at 03:55:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
My bad.

We have met the enemy, and he is us — Pogo
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jan 11th, 2008 at 03:56:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I suppose the analogy from the Prohibition would be that bootleggers, distributors of Alcohol etc.  moved to other lines of business - e.g. narcotics, protection rackets - and so hard drug dealers might just move elsewhere in the crime business if drug pushing became unprofitable and they had no legit options.

People with an alcohol dependency during the Prohibition who committed crimes to support their habit might also continue to do so if "decriminalisation" did not result in a significant reduction in price, although if drinking itself was no longer part of a criminalised subculture then this might be less likely.

Obviously if heroin is available free on prescription that ceases to be an issue.  But what if a doctor refuses to prescribe heroin because he believes that doing so is not in the best interests of his patient?   Most doctors I know in the addiction field are already at grave risk of assault, break-in etc. if they do not prescribe what their patient want.  Some take the soft option.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Jan 11th, 2008 at 04:24:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well,
they did no analysis on the amount of organised crime. Or petty theft for that matter.

I think the larger picture is that effects are based on historical context. An effect I did not mention (but is very interesting) is the creation of the AA, and its seperation of normal drinkers and alcoholics. The earlier societies for curing drunks were based on a more general view of alcohol as evil, but they withered during prohibition.

I suspect that the temperance movement would have been more succesful had they not pushed for outright prohibition. They overshot and lost their support and the initiative. But that is easy to write in afterthought.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Fri Jan 11th, 2008 at 04:31:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]

Display:

Top Diaries

Occasional Series