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For someone who cannot forget that 500000 people wake up in prison in America each day who are not common criminals but prisoners of the War on Drugs the movie Traffic is a disappointment Regarded by some Drug War critics as a portrayal of the futility of pursuing a war against people who use illegal drugs use consume possess distribute manufacture conspire to do any of these things Traffic goes only just so far in this direction A moviegoer may come away with the impression that the Drug War is indeed a futile enterprise but for reasons that are not immediately clear Something is missing which makes it difficult to know how to interpret the movie or how seriously to take it The unspoken premise is an economic one Supposedly Americans are enamoured of the use of illegal drugs and will pay what it takes to obtain them Demand is high and as happens with the buying and selling that goes on in markets supply keeps pace with demand The market in illegal drugs may be an illegal market but it follows the principles that govern markets nonetheless Supply keeps up with demand no matter what obstacles stand in the way To digress for a moment there are different positions one can take in opposing the War on Drugs The economic position is one alternative There are also moral psychological and what may be called historical positions - moral when the concern is with questions of right and wrong and the Drug War is conceived of as fundamentally wrong psychological when questions of the thought processes at work in those who promulgate the Drug War are the issue and the thinking of Drug War advocates is seen as primitive historical when it is surmised that the US is in the grip of a metaphysical process where its power is torn asunder by internal divisions None of these is a position taken in Traffic
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