Can We Keep Drugs out of America Entirely? The Singapore Model at Work versus Legalization. Hang ’em
Because of the economic incentives offered by supply and demand, it is almost impossible to keep drugs outside of any jurisdiction.
If you’ve ever tried to surf, you don’t what to be at Point Break, the area where the waves are breaking and you just get pummeled by the power of the ocean.
Let’s equate full legalization of drugs with being on the shore. There will be other troubles on the sand, but the waves of crime associated with drugs are going to break well off the shore, leaving you unaffected.
And when you’re out past the break, the waves themselves are going to come crashing down elsewhere. You might have to deal with the occasional shark, jelly, or some other threat, but in general you’ll be okay out there. I’m going to call that position death penalty for drugs, like they have in Singapore and some Muslim countries.
Singapore, for example, has a zero-tolerance policy for illegal drugs and imposes long jail terms on convicted users. It has hanged hundreds of people – including dozens of foreigners – for narcotics distribution over past decades.
Basically, they are enacting penalties which changes the game theoretical calculation and ups the perceived cost, via associated risk for drug smugglers.
Of course, drugs are still available in Singapore to some degree, although the cost is very high, and overall drug use in society is naturally far lower than in the United States.
While there is nowhere in the world that has fully legalized all drugs, countries like the United States are caught in between, neither on the shore or out past the break. The US has penalties of course, both for using and distribution, but our law enforcement strategy is failing on both ends, as America not only uses the greatest amount of illicit substances, but also has the greatest number of users and pushers in prison.
How do we as a nation not understand that the waves of crime pummeling us are avoidable by changing our position one way or another, but being in the middle we are getting pummeled mercilessly by waves of crime only growing in strength?