Pubdate: Mon, 31 Aug 1998
Source: The European
Contact:    ("Shorter letters are preferred")
Author: Hugh Robertson, aka shug


PROHIBITION would appear to be a perfectly logical method of discouraging a
particular activity (Letters, issue 431). It is universally used to prevent
acts such as murder, rape and theft. But is it the best way of preventing
the use of marketable goods such as cannabis, heroin or even eggs?

Eggs were rationed during the Second World War, as were meat, flour, petrol
and clothing.

Rationing is merely the prohibition of certain goods above a set quantity.

Rationing led to a black market and caused otherwise law-abiding citizens
to become criminals.

It also led to corruption with authority figures turning a blind eye for an
extra slice of bacon.

America prohibited alcohol for a decade and a black market flourished. The
prohibition of a marketable commodity automatically produces a black market.

These goods, unlike other illegal activities such as murder, are subject to
the laws of economics.

Given demand the result of restricting the supply of any commodity is that
the value of it is enhanced. Re-legalisation would eliminate the inflated
profits of these marketable goods.

It took the American government a little over 10 years to see what a
mistake they had made with alcohol prohibition. It is taking them and our
European governments even longer to realise that they are making the same

Hugh Robertson Perth, Scotland

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