Alejandro Hope, until recently in charge of organized-crime analysis at CISEN (the Mexican intelligence service) shreds the latest nonsense numbers from the UN Office on Drugs and Crime.
Part of the problem with drug policymaking at every level is its almost complete detachment from reality. In particular, statistics about drug volumes and revenues are more or less invented at random, then passed around like bad pennies.
I have this flagged under “Lying in Politics,” but “lying” isn’t really the mot juste. This is more what Harry Frankfort calls “bullsh*tting”: the statements are false, but not really intended to deceive. Stating them, and citing them, are ritual gestures: socially meaningful, but essentially content-free. (And debunking them is one of the central themes Jon Caulkins, Angela Hawken, and I pursue in Drugs and Drug Policy, whose subtitle should really be, not “what everyone needs to know,” but “what everyone needs to stop believing.”
Translation below the fold.
Footnote More from Alejandro at his new blog (mentioned earlier by Keith). It’s called “Plata o plomo” (“Silver or lead”), the proverbial choice offered to law enforcement officials by Latin American drug traffickers: take our money or face our bullets.