Assorted links

by on August 6, 2014 at 12:27 pm in Uncategorized | Permalink

1 albert magnus August 6, 2014 at 12:35 pm

#3 A lot of Korean authors will insist on using their whole first name because there are so many named “Park”s, “Kim”, etc. I’m pretty sure this happens as well with non-Korean people with common last names, but the Koreans always stood out for some reason.

2 collin August 6, 2014 at 12:40 pm

I wonder why Bolivia, with increasing crime, and Colorado, where crime has very modestly decreased, is having such big differences in crime rates here. My guess it is how much the crime and gangs were profiting from the marijuana trade. In Bolivia it was a key source of income where as most marijuana dealers in Colorado were small time criminals that simply joined the workforce. (In all reality, the legalization probably has no overall impact on Colorado crime and it would have decreased anyway.)

One note on Bolivia is the US Prohibition gangs still continued to be murderous thugs in the 1930 and even by the end of the 1930s the crime rate was still higher than pre-1920 US.

3 Edward Pierce August 6, 2014 at 12:55 pm

This analysis is pretty spot on. I’m perplexed by legalization advocates taking credit for the drop in murders in Denver. Are those folks *sure* they want to own that statistic when the murder rate invariably rises due to some other cause?

I sincerely doubt that marijuana has any impact on crime in the U.S. outside of arrests for…marijuana.

4 John Schilling August 6, 2014 at 1:35 pm

+1, at least where Denver is concerned. In order to have a serious affect on e.g. gang violence, you need to legalize the entire supply chain, not just retail distribution and consumption. If the wholesaler that sells marijuana to the local dispensary can’t resolve a dispute by going to the courts and saying, “look, here’s the contract that says I deliver quantity X of USDA Prime Acapulco Gold and they pay me $Y; make them pay up!”, then we’re back to gangs settling everything with guns. And if the idea is that this is all going to be done on the micro scale, with each retailer having their own private weed patch or hydroponic garden, that’s economically unrealistic.

There’s a natural size for an economically competitive marijuana industry. It may be bigger than all of Colorado or even Uruguay, but it’s certainly bigger than a bunch of isolated retail shops. Capture all of it in a legalization regime, and we can talk about these sort of benefits. Until then, all you are doing is proving that legal consumption isn’t catastrophically harmful. Which is, itself, worth doing.

5 Doug August 6, 2014 at 1:09 pm

I very much doubt that prior to legalization that any significant proportion of Colorado’s marijuana dealers were violent in any way to begin with. Colorado’s mostly filled with white, middle-class people, who aren’t buying their pot from gangsters. The dealers there probably belong a lot more in the cast of Dazed and Confused than Scarface. Latin America is another story because it’s so criminal to begin with. If you’re going to be keeping around non-legally protected expensive inventories and you live around thugs, you’re probably going to have to show some force occasionally. Pot dealers in Denmark or Oregon really don’t have to worry about their neighbors or customers potentially robbing them, pot dealers in Mexico or Brazil do.

6 Art Deco August 6, 2014 at 12:58 pm


Now, the legalization scheme isn’t popular and could collapse under political opposition. The most recent survey from polling firm Cifra found only 27 percent of Uruguayans approve of the marijuana legalization law and 64 percent oppose it.

No surprise there.

Drug policy experts always questioned whether Uruguay’s plan would actually cripple criminal organizations. Although it’s likely gangs wouldn’t be able to compete with the prices in Uruguay’s tightly regulated but cheaper marijuana market, the criminal groups could fall back on trafficking harder drugs and other illicit activities, such as gun selling and extortion, to make up for lost profits.

No surprise there.

The goal of the law is to remove a huge source of revenue from violent drug gangs, which the government blames for a recent rise in crime. Uruguay’s homicide rate increased by 21 percent and violent robbery rate spiked by 250 percent over the past 13 years, according to the Associated Press.

Because actually putting more cops on the streets and improving tactics is too crude for the Anointed (and suggests that the sort of people in police forces have useful social roles to fulfill and suggests that a reason people disobey the law is that they can).

The world’s first national experiment with marijuana legalization could collapse due to political opposition, the Associated Press reports.

HA HA HA Spicolis.

7 Brett August 6, 2014 at 12:59 pm

1(a). While I support marijuana legalization, I’m a little more pessimistic about whether it will cripple gangs and organized crime. In Latin American countries the gangs often have multiple sources of money, such as other drugs, extortion, kidnapping, and so forth. The only real upside is that going after extortion cases is probably easier than drug ones, since the victims are at least ostensibly on your side (assuming you can get them to talk).

1(b). That rule is a little harsh, but I can see why they’d want to be careful about introducing further invasive species in prime farmland.

4. It’s probably a good thing that more care is getting shifted to outpatient centers, along with health care jobs. Staying in a hospital is really, really expensive.

8 Doug August 6, 2014 at 1:12 pm

While I doubt marijuana legalization will have much impact, I think it’s certainly the case that full drug legalization would collapse the vast majority of gangs. There are other side-businesses like you said, but they pale in comparison to the cash cows of cocaine and heroin.

9 mulp August 6, 2014 at 2:00 pm

If your kid is not jailed as an attempt to drive drug dealers out of business by eliminating all customers by jailing them all, drug dealers continuing their other crimes means it makes zero difference that your kid is not in jail or can’t get a job because of a criminal record for smoking pot?

Of course, your kid probably drank illegally before smoking pot illegally, or smoked tobacco illegally before smoking pot, so alcohol and tobacco are the real gateway drugs. But no one turns 21 with a criminal record for drinking alcohol or smoking tobacco. (Kids do drink and drive, but that is a crime no matter your age, and it is not the drinking that’s the problem, but the impaired driving. Is it better to kill someone while driving impair by not sleeping for 24 hours than for drinking?)

10 Art Deco August 6, 2014 at 2:22 pm

I think it’s certainly the case that full drug legalization would collapse the vast majority of gangs.

Because convoy robbery, numbers rackets, protection rackets, bootlegging, and labor racketeering with just disappear if we legalize drugs.

And oh yeah. I want to live in a world where heroin is vended in commercial shops. Ann Coulter told the Libertarian Party in her local area that she’d get around to advocating drug legalization if people had recourse only to labor markets. Which of course will never happen. Because we do not live in Murray Rothbard’s wet dreams.

11 Doug August 6, 2014 at 5:47 pm

There’s no criminal organization anywhere near one tenth the size of Los Zetas that primarily derives its revenue from any of those things you listed. Tony Soprano’s typical of an organized criminal who primarily deals in non-drug crime. Tony’s revenue or body count in a great year would be nothing more than a blip to even the smallest cartels. We’re talking about groups that net tens of billions a year. Not all the back-alley casinos and crooked unions in North America combined would get close to that.

Also we already lived in a world where heroin was vended in commercial shops. It was up until the Wilson administration. Contrary to boogeyman fears, society did not collapse. You might be surprised to know how many people in your life regularly consume opiates at significant doses (the rate some doctors hand out prescription pain pills mean we’re not as far from retail heroin as you think), and still lead meaningful, productive lives. Occasional, or even regular use of heroin, does not imply that one’s going to wind up as a homeless street person (just as the nightly gin martini doesn’t mean one will wind up on skid row).

The vast majority of people who ever try any drug (and yes that includes the hardest drugs like heroin, crack cocaine and meth) go on to have no problems or addiction. The vast majority of addicts have underlying mental or emotional problems that they’re self-medicating for. The marginal user of heroin, the one who would try it if sold in the store but wouldn’t think of pursuing it because of its legal and social illicitness, is highly unlikely to fall into this category. Ergo while one would expect a marginal increase is heroin use from legality, it would be very difficult to argue that any more than a small percent of these marginal users would go on to develop serious addictions.

12 Art Deco August 6, 2014 at 5:56 pm

There’s no criminal organization anywhere near one tenth the size of Los Zetas that primarily derives its revenue from any of those things you listed.

I keep hearing this from you characters, and I cannot take you seriously. Aside from the inherently soft data in this, I honestly do not care much about the ‘size’ of subfractions of the criminal population, but of the level of activity of the whole.

Also we already lived in a world where heroin was vended in commercial shops. It was up until the Wilson administration.

Yeah, and there’s a reason prohibition was imposed, in a social context wherein there was very little outdoor relief and families had much more effective control of their errant members.

The vast majority of people who ever try any drug (and yes that includes the hardest drugs like heroin, crack cocaine and meth) go on to have no problems or addiction.

So what? You want a rapid increase in the quantum of vice, take legal constraints on it off and whooweee!

In truth, you’re relying on the rest of us to maintain legal constraints while you strike the pose of the rational man against all these rubes.

13 chuck martel August 6, 2014 at 10:56 pm

“We’re talking about groups that net tens of billions a year.”

That’s interesting. As an habitue’ of some pretty seedy neighborhoods and an acquaintance of some very disreputable people, I haven’t had anyone offer to sell or give me any kind of drug in almost 30 years. Nor have I seen anyone openly indulge in even marijuana. On the basis of my personal experience there is no drug problem in the US.

14 Cliff August 6, 2014 at 4:06 pm

None of those things you mention are remotely capable of supporting 95%+ of gangs

15 Art Deco August 6, 2014 at 4:35 pm

And you’ve done the bookkeeping yourself.

That aside, New York City managed to engineer a 75% decline in homicide rates, slum homicide rates only slightly higher than the metropolitan means of 1980, homicide rates at national means, and index crime rates below national means without legalizing drugs.

A disinterested observer might begin to get the idea that when Spicoli talks crime control he is blowing smoke in their face.

16 rayward August 6, 2014 at 4:14 pm

4. Tallying hospital employment may be misleading. As indicated in the Forbes article, consolidation and clinical integration are the trends in the health care industry, as hospital companies branch out into all areas of health care. But don’t get lost in the weeds: competition is what has helped keep health care costs from rising any more than they did, and competition is what is declining in the industry. Those outpatient facilities that have been competing with hospitals will soon be controlled by hospitals.

17 Mark Thorson August 6, 2014 at 5:05 pm

Proper review of an academic paper is hard. I edit a column in Computer Architecture News, a publication of the Association for Computing Machinery. The editor asked me if I would review submissions, and he sent me one he wanted me to review.

I couldn’t get past the first paragraph without finding significant errors. Seymour Cray did not design the CPU of the CDC 6600. He was lab manager and he designed the memory system. Jim Thornton designed the CPU. I stopped there. A comprehensive review of the paper would have taken many hours. I told the editor I don’t have time to review any papers. If I were an academic, I’d probably have to do a lot of that kind of work for free, which tells me that the life of an academic is not for me. I do edit stuff, but I get paid fairly well when I do that.

18 dearieme August 6, 2014 at 5:06 pm

On the mole story beneath, look at the comments thread. Someone appears to have started an academic urban myth by omitting – should that be suppressing? – a “probably”

19 Govco August 6, 2014 at 11:55 pm

“numbers rackets”

The 1940s are calling, they want their double breasted wiseacreing back. Govt lotteries wiped that out afore I was born.

20 Art Deco August 7, 2014 at 1:23 am

Well, you better call the Brooklyn precincts of the NYPD and tell them they’ve got it all wrong (or tell them you’re not born yet).

21 Moreno Klaus August 7, 2014 at 6:34 am

#3: If you Arxiv as a data source what do you expect? In Statistics- Mathematics-Machine Learning- Engineering there are very few women…

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