reply to post by ADVISOR
I read about the Columbian cartels income from drugs alone, surpasses the USofAs GNP per year.
That's right, the Gross National Product of the United States of America is less than what those drug dealers are making.
Whether or not the CIA is involved in the drugs trade, the above statement is plainly wrong.
The United States of America is both the world's biggest economy and the world's biggest illicit drug market.
Its aggregate GDP* according to the most current statistics
is slightly less than $10 trillion**.
So what you are saying is that Colombian drug barons make ten trillion dollars a year from illegal drugs.
That figure alone should be enough to convince anyone that the claim is pure fantasy. But for form's sake, let us spell out the reason why it has to
First, consider: the USA is the world's largest drug market. According to the UN's 2005 World Drug Report, it accounts for 44 percent of the world
drugs trade and 62 percent of the trade in coc aine. So of this ten trillion dollars the Colombian barons are supposed to be making, roughly five
trillion of it must be coming from the United States of America.
So according to you, the United States of America is spending half of its gross national product on illegal drugs!
This is plainly and demonstrably untrue. However, I will leave the demonstration as an exercise for the reader.
Meanwhile, let's open a trustworthy statistical window on the drugs market, shall we? Here is a link to UNODC's
2005 World Drug Report
. It estimates the value of the global retail market in
illegal drugs as $322bn in 2003 (see p. 127). This is an eye-watering figure, but it's still under three percent of the statistic you quoted.
And if we're talking about Colombian drug barons' incomes, we're talking wholesale, not retail. The world wholesale
market for illegal drugs
in 2003 is estimated at 'only' $94bn: less than one percent of your figure***.
But that's the total value of the world market in all drugs.
Colombian drug barons make their bucks from two main drugs: coc aine and cannabis. Colombia is, as everybody knows,
the world's leading producer
of coc aine. Cannabis is grown
all over the world (the United States is the world's largest producer), and though the world market in it exceeds that in coc aine, being (very
roughly) valued at over $140bn (p.134 of the UNODC report), the Colombian contribution to world output is negligible.
Those evil cartels are making most of their money from coc aine.
How much money? Well, the UNODC report has a figure for that, too. Let's see what it says.
Adding up the wholesale-values from all regions gives a total market value of US$18.8 bn, including the large markets of North America (US$ 9.1
bn), West and Central Europe (US$6.8 bn), and South America (US$0.3 bn). The South American figure reflects, however, only the gross income of
wholesalers supplying the domestic market. The total wholesale income in South America, where much of the coc aine is not destined for local
consumption but for exports, is much larger. The total gross income of wholesalers in South America would be equivalent to about US$2.6 bn.
World Drug Report 2005, p. 132
That's right, folks. Those bloated South American narcocrats are making about three billion dollars a year. Let's say the Colombians are making
two-thirds of that: two billion dollars. Outrageous, I know, but hardly a figure to strain at - and just 1/500 of what you are claiming,
*GNP is rarely used by economists nowadays, and therefore rarely appears in statistics.
**The page Advisor cited
actually gives a GNP figure for the year 2000 which is even higher than
***Anyone prompted to complacency by the apparent relative modesty of this figure should turn to p. 128 of the Report
, where they will be set
right by an interesting comparison chart showing the values of world export markets in such things as meat, tobacco, wine and beer.
****Actually, the Bolivian, Peruvian and other South American narcocrats also contribute to this figure, bringing the Colombian contribution down
[edit on 5-11-2008 by Astyanax]