Culture

How the Drug War Keeps People Poor

You could find a worse way to spend seven minutes than considering the above video with an open mind. John McWhorter, a teacher of linguistics at the Center for American Studies at Columbia University, explains the link between the War on Drugs and perpetual poverty within inner-city communities.

McWhorter relates the provocative fact that black communities in the Jim Crow era boasted high employment rates. He credits that to the economic incentives present in a relatively free market. Without the allure of a marked up black market drug trade, the only way to survive was through gainful legal employment.

McWhorter’s comments raise an intriguing question: what would today’s black communities look like without the drug war? How transformative might the combination of civil rights protections and a free market be?