Russ Roberts calls this one of the best microeconomics articles of the year:
- Making it in America (The Atlantic)
It is indeed outstanding, and difficult to excerpt. RTWT.
Meanwhile, Jacob Sullum reports that meth cooks are responding to ever-tightening restrictions on the purchase of pseudoephedrine:
- How to make meth production more dangerous (Reason Hit & Run)
State and federal restrictions on purchases of pseudoephedrine, aimed at curtailing illicit meth production, seem to have […] helped make the “shake and bake” method, which is simpler and uses less pseudoephedrine, the leading process for domestic production. The upshot is a lot more do-it-yourself production for personal use, using a technique that is more likely to cause injuries because it involves combining volatile chemicals in a two-liter soda bottle that you hold in your hand.
Most of what I’ll call the “consequentialist” opponents to the War On Some Drugs — people who don’t necessarily have a problem with the idea that the feds should be able to use violence to prevent you from using certain drugs, but who see the specific consequences of the Drug War as a bad tradeoff — get squeamish when we ideological zealots talk about legalizing “hard drugs” like heroin and meth. Perhaps they’d change their minds if confronted with anecdotes like these:
Larger meth labs have been bursting into flame for years, usually in basements, backyard sheds or other private spaces. But those were fires that people could usually escape. Using the shake-and-bake method, drugmakers typically hold the flammable concoction up close, causing burns from the waist to the face.
“From what we see on the medical side, that’s the primary reason the numbers seem to be going up: greater numbers of producers making smaller batches,” said Dr. Michael Smock, director of the burn unit at Mercy Hospital St. Louis….
Nah, probably not. Experience tells us that most people’s horrified reaction would be “That’s awful! We need to make it even more illegaler!” So it goes.