The problem with this world government and international law stuff

Now maybe legalisation of all drugs isn\’t the right step to take: regular readers will know that my view is that it is but perhaps I\’m wrong.

But similarly, maybe legalisation is the answer. And what we;d really like to do, if anyone or any country is brave enough, is for someone to actually legalise drugs so that we can all find out.

For we don\’t really know the most important things: will legalisation lead to more people taking drugs? Will mass taking of pharmaceutically pure drugs lead to less damage being done overall? Will, as Gary Becker posits, legalisation lead to a reduction in drug taking itself?

However, it\’s not going to happen anytime soon, anywhere:

While some countries have experimented with decriminalisation, not one has proceeded with legalisation – partly because United Nations conventions prohibit states from taking that step.

This is (just one) of the problems with this world government idea. Just as with a planned economy, people cannot experiment as they can in markets, so with a one system of governance people cannot experiment with different legal systems, with different methods of organising parts of the society.

I\’m, along with just about everyone else, happy enough that peeps can\’t go experimenting with slavery but these rules of what can and cannot be done exend far beyond that. To, for example, this drugs thing.

Just as we need markets in matters economic so that we continue to get the economic growth desired, so too do we need markets in systems of governance so that through experimentation we can test new methods of such and, who knows, possibly even get the purblind idiots that rule us to pick up decent ideas that have been tested elsewhere.

No, don\’t laugh, it does happen occasionally. The Swedish school experiment with what are essentially vouchers is being picked up here in the UK as \”free schools\”. The OECD has been able to study taxation systems in different places that manage them in different ways and show that different taxes do indeed have different deadweight costs. We should tax immovable property first, then consumption, then incomes and only last capital and corporations.

It\’s only because Norway has successfully run a huge national oil fund that we now know what to do with the natural resource curse, how do we avoid Dutch Disease?

Unfortunately the world appears to be moving in the other direction. The EU now makes the laws about what is allowable in jams: to the detriment of experimentation in new flavours of jams. The UN runs the drugs laws, to the detriment of experimentation in how we should deal with drugs.

What we really want of course is to devolve power right back down, down to the level of the individual: and then, joy of joys, we get to shoot all the international bureaucrats.

9 thoughts on “The problem with this world government and international law stuff”

  1. Remove the pusher’s profit motive (whether for cash or to feed his own habit) and you remove the whole marketing system. Yes, some will voluntarily try drugs, but most now are “persuaded” to do so.

    Plus, the thrill of the illegal will be removed. In Glasgow, to handle the rash of skate-boarding in the streets, they built dedicated skateboard ramps in a park. They were rarely used, and the street problem also vanished.

    Legalise now.

    Alan Douglas

  2. partly because United Nations conventions prohibit states from taking that step

    UN conventions prohibit lots of things, such as slavery and torture, and are routinely ignored by many countries. If the UK did legalise drugs, just exactly who would do anything about it — certainly the UN wouldn’t.

  3. Tim: the reason UN conventions prevent drugs, as the usual suspects above have hinted, is so that if the dictator of $crookedland were to set himself up as a drugs haven, we’d be able to invade him. Yes, diplomats watch too many Bond movies.

    Also, the EU’s rules on jams are no more harsh than the UK’s rules on jams used to be. They’re just expressed in sensible rather than obsolete measurements. That’s the whole fucking point of a common market – now, you can make jam, and if it’s legal in Portugal, you can send it anywhere you like without any official grumpiness, rather than having Danish regulators send it back for being Bad Jam.

  4. Tim: the reason UN conventions prevent drugs, as the usual suspects above have hinted, is so that if the dictator of $crookedland were to set himself up as a drugs haven, we’d be able to invade him.

    Please cite.

  5. The Netherlands decriminalized the possession of small amounts of soft drugs and set up a coffee shop system to sell them. Not a perfect system but it seemed to work: hard drug addiction actually dropped. The French and Germans, however, screamed bloody murder and now, with the new right-wing coalition, it looks as if the experiment is coming to an end. Good, everyone can go back to buying the stuff from criminals on the street. Why change a system that partly works for one you know doesn’t work? I am flabbergasted.

  6. Judith – partly our fault; Dutch Nimbies got grumpy about British and Irish drug tourists not respecting the boundaries between the red light district and sensible, small-c-conservative Amsterdam.

    So, in news which is reassuring for those of us who thought you lot were amazing and that we were stupid just because your drug policy worked and ours didn’t, your government’s gonna bring back the criminals because it transpired you were as stupid as us all along.

    Nobody gets any credit out of this game – I’m genuinely embarrassed in the role that drunken (literally: drunk on alcohol, which remains illegal) Brits have played in this daft game.

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