This is the second post in a series on how to win the war on drugs. In this post, I make the argument for legalizing all drugs. Before you scoff and navigate away from this post, you might want to read the previous one, or our Conceptual Overview so you have a basic understanding of why this is the one and only way to win this war.
Making all drugs legal sounds crazy in today’s society. It has been offered as a solution before. And for good reason. It was also for good reason people blasted those who offered the idea: making drugs legal as a way to curb drug use, when all the other factors driving people to drugs remain in place, is a dumb move.
In a Copiosis society though it’s a stroke of brilliance. Here’s why.
Relief offered to everyone who needs it
If everyone has all their necessities provided at no cost to them, if there is no debt, and everyone can do virtually anything to obtain other goods provided people and the planet are better off as a result of your actions, suddenly, people are relieved of many of the reasons they start or continue using drugs. Except for basic curiosity. As I pointed out before, drug abuse tends to result from the need to cope with something that feels unbearable in the moment. A close relative of mine, for example, struggles with late-onset alcohol and prescription drug dependency. This dependency began when she lost her youngest son in a freak accident. She was not able to handle the grief and so turned to these substances to numb herself. Today she depends on those substances.
In a Copiosis society, people have plenty of access to people who want to help them. These practitioners are not doing the work because they are paid to do so. They are doing the work because that’s what they want to do with their lives as an expression of who they are. As a result, what they offer is of high quality and imbued with a level of attention and care unmatched by people who do it “for the money.”
With the demand side effectively whittled down to the most hooked individuals, with some of those individuals likely seeking safer access to what they need, while others seek remedies to their addiction, there remains very little to do regarding any kind of “war” on drugs. Meanwhile, the problem kind of takes care of itself.
Those who have been doing it for the money are freed to pursue things they would do that aligns with who they are. These are the natural results of a full-implemented Copiosis society where people are rewarded for making people and the planet better off. So my relative debilitated by grief masked by chemical dependency would get plenty of assistance from of people, technologies and other support she simply can’t afford today. The same is true with anyone turning to drugs as a coping mechanism.
For those who are already in the midst of deep dependence, these people too would get such support all at no cost. The could get all the support they need in whatever manner they need it, when they need it. What’s more, more spectacular solutions to this problem would arise, solutions we can’t even imagine, solutions far more effective than what we have today. Why? Because rehabilitating such people and getting them back to being productive members of society is a HUGE Net Beneficial act. Innovations effective at doing this, whether they are medicinal, therapeutic, or some other mode of treatment can earn a person or persons a LOT of Net Benefit Reward.
Curiosity seekers safely served. Maybe
For those who are curious to take drugs, there may be facilities – recreational places – where they can indulge their experimental desires in safety. Instead of worrying about going to jail, about getting tainted substances, contracting disease, about being robbed or worse, these people could patronize reputable faculties with high-quality substances in a safe location with no challenges to their freedom. Should those people become dependent on the drug, there would be treatments they could benefit from.
It’s likely such drugs, if they are available, would be classified as Luxuries. That said, when I think through the supply and demand flow of those goods in Copiosis, I have a hard time figuring out why people would provide such a service or product. What is the Net Benefit of providing a taste of something that is likely to make you chemically dependent, to the degree that you become socially non-productive or unable to pursue your personal interests? Would someone benefit from providing a substance that required enormous numbers of people to work at relieving users from addiction to that substance, when those relief workers might find more rewarding (or equally rewarding) work doing something else? Certainly the Net Benefit of bringing such powerfully addictive substances to the market is highly negative, meaning suppliers, and the chain of people who make providing these substances possible, would be rewarded nothing for their efforts.
Some might say such people would spawn a black market of such goods, fueled by some kind of alternative currency to NBR. That may be likely for a time. Many of those people though, the people in the middle of the supply chain or near the beginning of it, people who don’t see much of the profit from these operations, won’t continue doing this work after they realize what they could be doing. Many of these people do this work because they have little freedom. I wager they would give up any serious desire for black market activities with their freedom restored. Besides, the people who pay these supply chain participants, would no longer be able to pay them, except in the black market form of currency. It is likely services and products available only through NBR would be so desirable, spending time earning black market money would make little sense for most people.
Even if black market activity occurred alongside a Copiosis economy, its existence provides opportunities for people to do good and be rewarded for those acts, including finding peaceful ways to dismantle such markets. Where black markets are seen as detrimental to most traditional economies, in Copiosis, even negatives such as black markets offer opportunities for people to benefit society thereby earning NBR.
War on drugs: won
With drugs legalized, but suppliers pretty much left with few if any customers, and no NBR rewards, there remains very little incentive for an existing supply side of the drug trade. With the demand side effectively whittled down to the most hooked individuals, with some of those individuals likely seeking safer access to what they need, while others seek remedies to their addiction, there remains very little to do regarding any kind of “war” on drugs. Meanwhile, the problem kind of takes care of itself.
Our resistance to something we’d rather not experience in our societies, gives way to a compassionate ambivalence towards the drug trade for most of us, while those who care about seeing the drug trade as a “problem” do things that solve the problem. Those people’s efforts are rewarded handsomely, while being amplified by the nature of how Copiosis works
As Copiosis is adopted nation-wide, then world-wide the drug war becomes less and less of a war and more and more an opportunity. An opportunity for those who really care. An opportunity for those who can do something to productively, positively take advantage of it. For the rest of us, we can focus on what lights our fire.