Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Getting out of the Game

I have a new piece about an interesting new study here:
The factors they uncover are not particularly surprising, but though they may seem commonplace, Mexico’s crime strategy often suffers from a lack of consideration of the incentives driving the principal actors in the drug trade--i.e., the criminals themselves. Unfortunately, such obstacles are highly personalized and individual, so while the government could make more resources available to fund transition programs, it’s not clear that there are any obvious policy choices that would remove or lessen the barriers for thousands of traffickers, especially at the federal level. Instead, such a transition would seem to be better encouraged and managed as close to the trafficker as is possible, so as to tailor the efforts to his specific situation.

In any event, adopting a wider lens, Campbell and Hansen close their study with a call to sponsor ex-trafficker support groups, and provide the philosophical underpinnings of a more socially sophisticated drug policy:

“[H]arm reduction policies need to address the seductive appeal of trafficker images in Hollywood and pro-cartel narco-media...and the embeddedness of trafficker identities in dense webs of family, community, drug-using circles, gangs and cartels, and the larger society, such that traffickers may stop selling drugs but not fully get out of the game. Thus, policies affecting ex-traffickers should go beyond individuals in isolation (the atomized trafficker) and address the interlocking socioeconomic structures, cultural values and systems of ideas that push and pull traffickers out of the game and make it hard for them to stay out. Moreover, policies should be considered vis-à-vis the ways traffickers actually view their own lives.”
 As far as the study's authors, Howard Campbell has an interesting book on the drug trade here.

1 comment:

Ray said...

Trafficker support groups? Hey?

Go traffickers! Have at it. Traffic all you want, just kill those who are engaging in non-trafficking crimes.

There is no institution in Mexico capable of stopping the flow of drugs.