There are 55 million users of illegal drugs in the USA.
America accounts for half the world’s consumption, $60 billion annually.
Roughly the same revenue as Microsoft.
So this is a big market with a big demand.
And, in classical economics, demand creates supply.
So the supply of drugs from Mexico to the USA is big business.
In the last 6 years, around 100,000 people have died in violence related to this big business.
Because the supply side of this equation is very competitive.
I’ve just seen a Yale professor lecturing about this.
Putting the drugs trade into language his audience can understand.
Marketing speak.
Explaining it as a business model.
He says “an effective organisation requires an integrated strategy including good organisational structure, good incentives, solid identity and good brand management.”
Breaking that down for non-marketing people, what is he saying?
For a start, what is their “business strategy”?
He says “It requires that they guarantee to their producers that their product will be reliably placed in the market where it’s consumed, via absolute control of geographic corridors.”
In other words, they will get the drugs to the people who want them, no matter what.
Nothing and no one will stop them, which explains why 100,000 people die.
Okay, so what does he mean by “good incentives”?
This refers to the choice that underpaid police officers are offered “Plata o Plomo?”
(In English that’s “silver or lead?” – take a bribe or take a bullet.)
And as an incentive, it’s been very effective.
So what then is their “organisational structure”?
He says it is a “perfectly structured chain of command with clear hierarchy and a clear promotion path, that allows them to supervise and operate across many markets”.
The first part seems to mean if you disobey the boss you die, and someone else gets your job.
The second part he himself describes as “diversifying into kidnapping, prostitution, and human trafficking”.
So, in marketing terms, profitable line extensions of the brand.
That just leaves “solid identity and good brand management”.
He describes the brand management as “terror” and the brand strategy as “violence”.
He finishes by saying “They currently run a franchising business and, like any multinational, they protect their brand by outsourcing the more questionable parts of their brand model”.
In non-marketing terms, that means they use local gangs for drug distribution, and murder where necessary.
Which, again, explains why 100,000 people die.
So now you know.
We can understand the way drugs, crime, and human misery work.
We can understand it because he’s put it in language that marketing people (us) speak.
It’s comfortable. It’s detached, it allows us to distance ourselves from the real world.

Because that’s what the language we speak does.
It distances us from the real world.

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