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The Economics of the Drug Trade and War on Drugs

Filed under: Business Infographics, Cultural Infographics | Comments Off

drug-wars-infographic

This graphic, created by Credit Loan,  gives us a great deal of information about the war on drugs, and interjects its opinions as well, creating a highly intriguing infographic from a content perspective.  The first part of the graphic discusses how much money has been spent on fighting the “war” and where that money has gone. One of the things that stands out is that much more money has been spent locking people up in prisons for drug use rather than on prevention, unless you count locking people away as a preventive measure, and that certainly can be argued.  Although, I would argue that  putting people behind bars as a deterrent isn’t as strong as showing the damaging effects that certain drugs can have on your health, and clearly not nearly as much money is being spent on anti-drug marketing campaigns as it is on incarceration.

The $121 billion spent on finding and arresting non-violent drug offenders must be lumped together with the $450 billion spent on incarnating them in private and federal prisons.  That brings the total used to fight the drug war via arresting people to a whopping $571 billion, which is rather higher than the 33 million spent on the largely ineffective “Just Say No” campaigns. All in all, about 1 trillion dollars has been spent in the last 40 years fighting this war. And all of that 1 trillion comes from U.S. tax payers. According to the graphic, despite the huge amount in spending (that increases year after year), the amount of drugs flowing into the U.S. has not decreased.

Ok, so this war has cost the U.S. about a trillion since 1971, but how much did it cost the country last year? 15 billion. And the proposed 2011 budget is 15.5 billion.  So, the budget is continuing its steady climb upward since its inception in 1971.

The last portion of the graphic breaks down drug importation and exportation by country. The U.S. is the world’s largest consumer of drugs (woohoo!). It also imports, exports, and sells $460 billion of them per year.  Ready for the grading portion? Then lace that paper in your hand with acid, take a lick, and look below. You’re going to need drugs when you’re done reading our analysis.

Design: C

This infographic certainly has an edge to it, but that edge isn’t found in the design. An intentionally plain color scheme comes with a disadvantage; it will probably never be considered as grand as a bright and colorful scheme.

Content: A-

I thought this graphic’s content was strong, to be honest. It seems infographics filled predominately with strong opinions about a topic are a rarity.

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