Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Alas Poor Google, with Opium

Emma Bonino writes in OpenDemocracy : " The illegal drug economy poses a serious threat to stability and democracy in Afghanistan, so it is crucial to promote a sincere and open-minded debate about it, and to consider the merit of different ideas and approaches. This debate must not exclude the possibility of licensed opium production for medical purposes, with quotas granted as in many other countries."

Amen to that. Rather than fight a "War on Drugs" it would be cheaper, simpler and more effective to simply buy up the farmers' opium crop from Afghanistan and wherever else it is grown. Buy it, use it as a feedstock for our pharmaceuticals (there is currently a medicinal heroin shortage, and it could also be used as a substrate for other medicines) and burn the rest.

The only objections I have ever had from this is the Imperfection Objection ("some of it might be leaked to the black market" . Well, well. Where do they think it is go=ing at the moment. The other was a plaintive cry that it would be an unwarranted interference in the workings of the market. Hmm.

So why not buy it? Anyone got a valid reason?

PS This is the second time I have written about this. 319 days ago I did another piece, in the same vein. Search Drugs on the Technorati box herinunder and you may see the first few lines. But when you click the link, you get a 404 Page not Found. Just like my original Zaqarwi/Zarqarwi story (try searching that too). They get a 404. I finally got through to Blogger help on that: we decided I may have altered the title line, causing the 404. I have definitely not altered the title line on the Buy it and Burn it story. Me, I think we could have another Google China Syndrome.

Alas, Poor Google! I knew him well
Or thought I did, but then his coffers swelled
With gold, and seeking more, he found that round his neck
A chain of gold had formed...

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