# The evolution of a neighborhood

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They mostly go to the public housing projects, I think. Which are located some distance away from the revitalized/gentrified areas. They're not just put out on the street, afaik. They have access to various benefits which enable them to get affordable long-term shelter. And these places could be very nice places to live, with a bit of effort. But, inevitably, the public housing projects become infested with drug-selling violent gangs -- and I suppose that a sort of feeling of resignation and hopelessness overcomes the good people who live there. It's quite sad really. I've seen cities spend millions on making nice places for poor people to live, only to have them degenerate into squalid and physically run down centers of prostitution and drug dealing soon after.

One might ask, gee, why don't the police do something about this? It's a good question, imo. One that I don't have a definitive answer for -- except that I'm pretty sure that it could be prevented.

Anyway, yes, I agree with you -- let's modify some of these idiotic drug laws.
Because they are illegal, most drugs are worth more than gold, by weight. It doesn't matter how nice the neighborhood might be, if the option is to make $400 a week by working your butt off, or$1000 or $4000 a week while getting high all day, it's no surprise that many choose the latter. The problem is that the cops ARE doing something about it. Change the laws and there is no economic driver. The same is true of the Mexican cartels and a lot of the border problems. Back when William F Buckley first started pushing the idea of legalization, I thought he was nuts. Then he started to win me over with the economics, States rights, the right of choice, and so on. But only in retrospect do I see that the laws are really the root of much of the drug problem. They prevent constructive, positive, humane solutions that save lives, rather than destroying them and filling the prisons. They are to a highly significant degree what funds and motivates much of the gang violence in the cities. And they are what motivates the gangs to expand into small cities and now rural communities. It's a business. MS-13 probably wouldn't exist today were it not for the war on drugs. Last edited: Because they are illegal, most drugs are worth more than gold, by weight. Actually, marijuana costs considerably less than gold. Cocaine about the same. And crack considerably more. Then there's meth, crystal meth, and heroine, p-dope, etc. All of which, I assume (because I didn't feel like looking them up), cost a bit more than gold. These are, I assume, the primary 'street' drugs. So, for the most part, it seems that your statement is correct. It doesn't matter how nice the neighborhood might be, if the option is to make$400 a week by working your butt off, or $1000 or$4000 a week while getting high all day, it's no surprise that many choose the latter.
But from my reading, that's not the option. According to what I've read, and anecdotal accounts, the average street dealer makes probably less than $400 dollars a week, and nobody but a few higher up people in any organization make anything approaching$1000 a week.

So, the option seems to be working a legal job for about $300 a week, or working an illegal job with the risk of going to prison for a few years for about$300 a week.

Thus, I don't think it's the money that keeps most of the people involved in the business of selling drugs on the streets in that business. Maybe it's the promise of much better money. Maybe it's an infatuation with the gangsta thang. Maybe it's the fact that the work is 'off the grid' and to a certain extent a sort of self employment. But it's definitely not the money, because most of them don't make very much money at all.

The problem is that the cops ARE doing something about it.
Why would the cops doing something about it be a problem? I'm not saying that the cops are doing nothing about it, but I did suggest that I think that much, maybe all, of the problems of public housing projects are preventable. Let's just leave it at that, because there's no way I can back up what I'm saying without getting into trouble at PF.

Change the laws and there is no economic driver. The same is true of the Mexican cartels and a lot of the border problems.
I absolutely agree.

Back when William F Buckley first started pushing the idea of legalization, I thought he was nuts. Then he started to win me over with the economics, States rights, the right of choice, and so on. But only in retrospect do I see that the laws are really the root of much of the drug problem. They prevent constructive, positive, humane solutions that save lives, rather than destroying them and filling the prisons. They are to a highly significant degree what funds and motivates much of the gang violence in the cities. And they are what motivates the gangs to expand into small cities and now rural communities. It's a business. MS-13 probably wouldn't exist today were it not for the war on drugs.
Again, I agree.

Uh oh. We better get back on topic. (Anyway, you've made your point rather well I think.) Remember, Big Brother/Sister is watching.

Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
Actually, marijuana costs considerably less than gold. Cocaine about the same. And crack considerably more. Then there's meth, crystal meth, and heroine, p-dope, etc. All of which, I assume (because I didn't feel like looking them up), cost a bit more than gold. These are, I assume, the primary 'street' drugs. So, for the most part, it seems that your statement is correct.
Also, ectasy, LSD, PCP, heroin...

But from my reading, that's not the option. According to what I've read, and anecdotal accounts, the average street dealer makes probably less than $400 dollars a week, and nobody but a few higher up people in any organization make anything approaching$1000 a week.
What are they calling a "street dealer"? Does this include every ten year old and junkie? It's like any job. You have to work your way up. And many dealers are also users, so they smoke, snort, and shoot their profits. And also depends on their role. Consider pot. The guy selling it isn't the one making the money, it's the guy growing it that makes the real bucks. They then recruit people to sell for them. In turn, the recruits hope to achieve top dog one day.

So, the option seems to be working a legal job for about $300 a week, or working an illegal job with the risk of going to prison for a few years for about$300 a week.
Even if that were true, which it's not, the perception and expectation is all that matters.

Thus, I don't think it's the money that keeps most of the people involved in the business of selling drugs on the streets in that business. Maybe it's the promise of much better money. Maybe it's an infatuation with the gangsta thang. Maybe it's the fact that the work is 'off the grid' and to a certain extent a sort of self employment. But it's definitely not the money, because most of them don't make very much money at all.
You can't limit an entire enterprise to the lowly street dealer. It is much bigger than that. Do you really think the Mexican mafia is working for $300 a week? Ten year old kids in LA are probably making that much. Last edited: Staff Emeritus Science Advisor Gold Member Why do gangs fight turf wars? For control of the territory for drug dealing - the money. I'm sure you can make a lot more than 300 a week, even if you're a lower tier dealer and you don't need to work as hard as a normal job. Sure, you may get shot, arrested...but you can carry guns, use your own product and get "street cred" These criminals hate the idea of having a normal job working at a supermarket or something like that. What are they calling a "street dealer"? The actual point of sale people. The people selling whatever in single packets/doses. The guy selling it isn't the one making the money ... That's what I said. Let's say a kid buys 30 packets of whatever at, say,$6 a packet. Then he sells them for $10 a packet. So he nets$120 per every 30 packets he sells of whatever he's selling. If the selling areas are as jammed with sellers as I'm guessing they are, then the kid will be lucky to unload, say, 10 to 15 packets per day.

You can't limit an entire enterprise to the lowly street dealer. It is much bigger than that.
I agree. I said that most of the people involved (ie., the street dealers) don't make much money -- about minimum wage on average (I'll try to find that study. It was interesting. I would have thought that the street dealers make a lot more, but apparently they don't.). Of course, the more hours they work, the more money they'll make.

The people who make the big money are a distinct minority in the scheme of things. As you noted ... the growers, distributors, wholesalers.

Do you really think the Mexican mafia is working for \$300 a week? Ten year old kids in LA are probably making that much.
I would guess that most of the people in the Mexican mafia don't make much money. With a distinct few at the very top being quite rich.

Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
I got a kick out of this exchange between Barney Frank, and George Will, on This Week, today.

FRANK: Can I get an answer on marijuana, George? Are you with me on it? I mean, personal liberty, if someone wants to smoke marijuana who's an adult, why do you want to make them go to jail?

WILL: As you know, first of all, on the Internet gambling, as you know, I'm on the -- a supporter of the Barney Frank bill.

FRANK: Yes.

WILL: With regard to marijuana, I need to know more about -- whether it's a gateway to other drugs. I need to know how you're going to regulate it, whether you're going to advertise it. I am open to the--

FRANK: Oh, you're just a copout.

WILL: We're not--

FRANK: It's been around for a long time. The gateway -- anything is a gateway to anything. That's -- and let's put it this way, that's the slippery slope argument, which is a very anti- libertarian argument. The fact is that if someone is doing something that's not in itself wrong, that it might lead later on to something else, then stop the something else. Don't lock them up for smoking marijuana.

WILL: What you're calling a copout is I'm calling a quest for information.

FRANK: How long is it going to last, George? We've been doing it for decades.

WILL: I understand liberalism's aversion to information because it often does not go in their direction.

FRANK: No, I'm averse -- I've been studying this for a long time. You know, you're on Medicare, and how much longer are we going to have to wait for you to make up your mind?
http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/transcript-great-american-debates/story?id=15182473&page=14

I got a kick out of this exchange between Barney Frank, and George Will, on This Week, today.
http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/transcript-great-american-debates/story?id=15182473&page=14
Yes, I watched that. It was somewhat entertaining. I didn't know that Frank was for legalization of marijuana. Good for him -- I agree with that position. He and Reich made the most sensible general statements in the discussion, imo. George Will needs to set about doing the research he says he needs to do on the marijuana thing. As Frank commented, Will's had plenty of time and should make up his mind.