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Deep Dope

Posted by heyrandy on July 15, 2013

The Politics of Heroin, Alfred McCoy, 1991

The production and sale of heroin has deep political roots. The trade prospers because of government permission. Sometimes that permission is government cooperation. All governments need money. This is an easy way to get it.

Opium is grown in the remote hills of third-world countries and through an elaborate series of chemical processes is turned into the white power of heroin. The profits in this business are so great that many countries’ secret intelligence services have used the trade to finance their clandestine operations.

The book focus on the area of southeast Asia called the Golden Triangle. This is the border areas of Laos, Thailand, and Burma (now Myanmar.) Peasant framers grow opium and then trade it to mostly Chinese merchants. The merchants then sell the opium to secret laboratories which turn it into heroin. The heroin is then smuggled into the western countries.

Along the way there is massive bribery and corruption of government officials.

The unspoken thesis of this book is that the trade is unstoppable. As long as people want heroin they will bet it. Government would go broke without it.

The book gives the history of heroin and how it became illegal. It was once a minor problem they grew when the drug became illegal. There is a lesson here. Read the book to learn it.

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