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Author Topic: Economics and experience foretell failure of Duterte's war on drugs  (Read 518 times)

hubag bohol

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Economics and experience foretell failure of Duterte's war on drugs - expert
By: Tricia Aquino, InterAksyon.com
January 25, 2017 8:03 AM


MANILA, Philippines -- Economics and the experiences of other countries that have tried the same approach foretell nothing but failure for President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs, which has claimed more than 7,000 lives in the seven months since he took office and sparked bitter debate over the bloodshed, an expert said. 

Dr. John Collins, the executive director of the International Drug Policy Project under the London School of Economics' think tank IDEAS, said the drug problem is “very complex” and requires a broad, societal, and integrated solution, not Duterte’s “anti-development” approach, which he described as an “extreme form of repression.”

Collins spoke on Skype Monday at a forum on anti-drug campaigns at the Ateneo de Manila University, the second organized since the beginning of the Duterte administration by the Ateneo School of Government in partnership with other units.

He said Duterte's pledge to “free society of drugs” isn’t new. “What President Duterte has been (saying) has been claimed many, many times over the last century. The thing is, every single time it has failed.”

Because drugs, especially synthetics like crystal meth or shabu, are renewable commodities that can be made in a laboratory, trying to suppress supply is likely to fail in the long run.

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hubag bohol

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Re: Economics and experience foretell failure of Duterte's war on drugs
« Reply #1 on: January 25, 2017, 09:14:52 AM »
He explained this through what he called the “balloon effect” -- pressing down on one part of an inflated balloon makes another part pop out -- which was what happened when the opium trade shifted from China to Burma (now Myanmar) to Afghanistan.

“You can't suppress all parts equally at all times,” he said.

And because addictive substances are also seen a luxury goods, coveted because they are expensive or illicit, demand does not respond in ways normally expected. Even if prices go up, users will not necessarily stop consuming them, especially once they are severely addicted, Collins said.

“Let's imagine the market dynamics: we're at a stable equilibrium in the Philippines prior to President Duterte's intervention. President Duterte unleashes the police force on the drug market. And so maybe in the short term, maybe in the immediate term you see some contraction in supply because there's just very easy, low-hanging fruit to catch ... Price increases very quickly, because there is still that sense of certain consumers are going to continue to want to consume and all of these other factors. So you see a sharp increase in price,” he said.


hubag bohol

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Re: Economics and experience foretell failure of Duterte's war on drugs
« Reply #2 on: January 25, 2017, 09:15:29 AM »
“What does price do to the supply of the drug? It increases it! Suppliers, producers, transitors, everyone looks at this and says there is now greater profit to be made in this market. And so it increases their efforts to become involved, it increases their mechanisms to actually increase the supply. So maybe the market operates in a more subtle way. Maybe it's harder for the government to find sources of supply, but anyway, the supply increases.”

“What happens when the supply increases? The price goes back down because there's more competition on the market, there's more substances on the market. And so you eventually end up at a new equilibrium, which is more or less the same as the first equilibrium. It may take a few years, it may take two years to get to that point, but the overwhelming evidence is that that dynamic plays out.”

However Duterte’s drug war plays out, the Philippines will be back where it was at the beginning of it. “So you've had zero effects, (and) you've had extremely high costs,” Collins said.

He also cited a 2014 study by economists Reuter and Pollack on whether police intervention in the drug market drives prices up, which concluded there is “zero evidence” it was effective.


hubag bohol

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Re: Economics and experience foretell failure of Duterte's war on drugs
« Reply #3 on: January 25, 2017, 09:16:01 AM »
Neither, he said, would Duterte's aggressive approach work in the way he expects it to.

He pointed to Mexico, where it was thought that if the high-level players in drug cartels were taken out, the syndicates would cease to operate. What happened was the mid-level members warred with each other to gain control of territory, leading to an “exponential rise in violence.”

The assumption in the Philippines that all one has to do is to murder enough people and the trade will stop and shift to something else is “not a realistic assumption,” Collins stressed, pointing out that people are caught up in the drug trade for various reasons, not just because they're “evil.”

He recalled a visit to a coca farm in rural Colombia, which took him two hours by plane from Bogota, two more hours by cab, and another two hours by boat.

While “get them to grow something else” is often prescribed for communities that grow coca and similar plants, Collins said this has nothing to do with the realities they face. In the case of the Colombian farm, he said it was an area so remote it was unreasonable to expect people to grow coffee or tomatoes and haul these to market.


hubag bohol

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Re: Economics and experience foretell failure of Duterte's war on drugs
« Reply #4 on: January 25, 2017, 09:16:45 AM »
He also noted that when the government sprayed hundreds of thousands of hectares of Colombian rainforests with carcinogens, all it accomplished was poison the water and food supply, and drive farmers to respond by planting twice as much coca. Fortunately, he said, the Colombian government has declared a moratorium on the spraying.

Collins said this and similar approaches to solving the drug problem are examples of the “We don't have an answer, so let's just do something” mentality that, in the end, has seen government after government admitting their hard-handed tactics have been a failure.

In fact, drug prices have been declining over the last 30 years, meaning they are becoming more available, Collins said.

Meanwhile, countries that have been spending more money to send more people to jail have succeeded only in creating more problems that are often more harmful, such as “bizarre incentives” for the police “to do very strange and irrational things … in pursuit of sounding like they're executing the war on drugs.”


hubag bohol

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Re: Economics and experience foretell failure of Duterte's war on drugs
« Reply #5 on: January 25, 2017, 09:17:06 AM »
He cited the kidnapping and murder of Korean businessman Ji Ick-Joo, allegedly by personnel of the police Anti-Illegal Drugs Group who even demanded the victim’s wife pay a ransom even after they had killed him.

“This is not unusual,” Collins said. “This is not something where anyone who looks at the drug policy will say, 'Oh wow, that was unpredictable’.” Collins said.

Although governments have the idea that the war on drugs will be waged against the bigwigs, in the United States, Europe, and Latin America, it is the poor and minority peoples who end up in jail while the elites remain untouched. Meanwhile, policies that drive enforcers to “do strange things” allow “opportunistic” persons to exploit -- and profit -- from the situation through, say, extortion.

“Who actually bears the cost of the war on drugs?” Collins asked. He pointed to the “significant economic costs” from the loss of human capital and noted it often takes decades for affected communities to recover after their “social fabric” has been disrupted.

In the US, Collins said, some black communities hardly have any men left because of mass incarceration, and the people who engage in the drug trade become younger and younger. There are no male role models; how will this affect the children and their children?

Nevertheless, Collins said such repressive and, eventually, futile approaches to fighting drugs remained popular around the globe until the AIDS epidemic of the late 20th century, when injecting drugs was confirmed to be “a key vector” in the spread of the disease. This led to what is now the more widely accepted approach to the problem, looking at it through the lens of public health and working to reduce the harm from drug use.


hubag bohol

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Re: Economics and experience foretell failure of Duterte's war on drugs
« Reply #6 on: January 25, 2017, 09:19:01 AM »


hubag bohol

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Re: Economics and experience foretell failure of Duterte's war on drugs
« Reply #7 on: January 25, 2017, 09:21:38 AM »

islander

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Re: Economics and experience foretell failure of Duterte's war on drugs
« Reply #8 on: January 25, 2017, 01:46:26 PM »

sad.
Republic Act 8485 (Animal Welfare Act of 1998, Philippines), as amended and strengthened by House  Bill 6893 of 2013--- violation means a maximum of P250,000 fine with a corresponding three-year jail term and a minimum of P30,000 fine and six months imprisonment

hubag bohol

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Re: Economics and experience foretell failure of Duterte's war on drugs
« Reply #9 on: February 10, 2017, 07:53:56 PM »
Mag-iyahay na lang una tag bangag karong panahona... :(

rogamz

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Re: Economics and experience foretell failure of Duterte's war on drugs
« Reply #10 on: February 11, 2017, 12:26:23 PM »
indeed...::)::):P
No other time than now..

rogamz

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Re: Economics and experience foretell failure of Duterte's war on drugs
« Reply #11 on: February 11, 2017, 12:38:39 PM »
wa molambo nga economiya sa nasod para sa katawhan.. kung ang tawo mapasagaron mao makapokan sa kagawasan.. kung ugaling naa economiya gilambo dili para sa katawhan, kung dili economiya lang sa mga DILAW mga opportunista sila ra mabolahan... di bali economiya nga dili pa molambo karon panahona ang tunay nga economiya, unahon na mga skalwag pokanon.. soonest the sun will raise from east brings the true economic way of living..:):)


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