Over the past five years, we have witnessed profound change in the U.S. and global economies. Who would have ever imagined that General Motors would go into bankruptcy and the government would take a one-third stake in its ownership? U.S. unemployment has been extraordinarily high. Key sectors of the economy such as housing have been knocked to the ground. Federal government indebtedness has skyrocketed. State and local government spending has cratered, resulting in extensive cuts in services, from public schools to police departments.
Every business knows that its survival could be upended by a shock to oil prices, the unavailability of credit, or a hit to the economy of Europe or China. Every investor is desperate to protect their portfolio against loss, and struggles to obtain a return on investment greater than inflation. The economic impact of public policy dominates every contest, from county sheriff to president, from U.S. senator to town councillor.
Yet one public policy with profound impacts on business and the economy is rarely evaluated: drug prohibition policy. Around the world, government leaders, ordinary citizens, and business leaders are now questioning the effectiveness, the merit, and the wisdom of continuing the war on drugs.
If you are an out-of-work carpenter or automaker, or you once had a job making anything in the U.S., part of why you are unemployed or underemployed is the war on drugs. All of the additional costs to the businesses in lost sales translate into fewer jobs for the people who make the things to sell. All the additional costs of added insurance or security, or losses due to shoplifting or other crime, mean less money to spend on salary or advertising to build market share and keep the company you work for growing, giving you the possibility of a raise or a shot at a promotion.
– Read the entire article at AlterNet.