Milton Friedman, National Party and Economics of Good Health
The same Milton Friedman that I drew to the attention of MP Tony Ryall at his Christchurch "Health Issues" public meeting - presenting to him (and his audience) that the philosophy and principles of the Nat's is undermined by the double standards and that 'economic professors the world over hold the drug laws in disrepute.' (in NZ, drug laws are enacted under Warrant of the Minister of Health)
I invited Tony to view the list of 515 Professors of Economics that supported Prof J. A. Miron's 'economics of drug prohibition' study. ( Miron is a professor of economics at Boston and Harvard University; E-Mail: email@example.com)
Lets face it. Ryall, as a prospective Minister of Health and his Nat's 'tough on crime' colleagues are utterly compromised by this.
The following interview is as relevant today as when it was made in 1991. The only difference is that in NZ we can substitute Methamphetamine for Heroin and Cocaine. Its got nothing to do with the pharmacology, and everything to do with our geographic location. (see also another economist from Hawaii, Prof James Roumasett on methamphetamine and cannabis.. )
Meanwhile LABOUR calls for a inquiry on gangs... are we stupid? /Blair
Here is an excerpt from "Friedman & Szasz On Liberty and Drugs." It is from a 1991 interview on "America's Drug Forum," a nat'l public affairs talk show that appears on public TV stations. http://www.druglibrary.org/schaffer/misc/friedm1.htm
Randy Paige is an Emmy Award-winning drug reporter from Baltimore, MD; Prof. Milton Friedman has been a Senior Research Fellow at the Hoover Inst. on War, Revolution, and Peace at Stanford since '77, & is considered the leader of the Chicago School of monetary economics. Presidential Medal of Freedom
Image via WikipediaProfessor Friedman won the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Science in '76, & is also the recipient of the Nat'l Medal of Science & the Presidential Medal of Freedom by the U.S. gov't in '88.
Paige: Let us deal first with the issue of legalization of drugs. How do you see America changing for the better under that system?
Friedman: I see America with half the number of prisons, half the number of prisoners, ten thousand fewer homicides a year, inner cities in which there's a chance for the poor people to live without being afraid for their lives, citizens who might be respectable who are now addicts not being subject to becoming criminals in order to get their drug, being able to get drugs for which they're sure of the quality. You know, the same thing happened under prohibition of alcohol as is happening now.
Under prohibition of alcohol, deaths from alcohol poisoning, from poisoning by things that were mixed in with the bootleg alcohol,
went up sharply. Similarly, under drug prohibition, deaths from overdose, from adulterations, from adulterated substances have gone up.
Paige: How would legalization adversely affect America, in your view?
Friedman: The one adverse effect that legalization might have is that there very likely would be more people taking drugs. That's not by any means clear. But, if you legalized, you destroy the black market, the price of drugs would go down drastically. And as an economist, lower prices tend to generate more demand. However, there are some very strong qualifications to be made to that.
The effect of criminalization, of making drugs criminal, is to drive people from mild drugs to strong drugs.
Paige: In what way?
Friedman: Marijuana is a very heavy, bulky substance and, therefore, it's relatively easy to interdict. The warriors on drugs have been more successful interdicting marijuana than, let's say, cocaine. So, marijuana prices have gone up, they've become harder to get. There's been an incentive to grow more potent marijuana and people have been driven from marijuana to heroin, or cocaine, or crack.
Paige: Let us consider another drug then, and that is the drug crack.
Friedman: Crack would never have existed, in my opinion, if you had not had drug prohibition. Why was crack created? The preferred method of taking cocaine, which I understand was by sniffing it, snorting it, became very expensive and they were desperate to find a way of packaging cocaine...