Thursday, September 14, 2006

Help Afghanistan. Buy Opium

Afghanistan is a dirt poor country whose largest cash crop is illegally grown opium. Meanwhile, there is a worldwide shortage of opiates for medical use. A match made in heaven, or what?

Andrew Stuttaford, blogging at NRO's The Corner, argues that Afghanistan's entire crop could be sold to meet the shortage.

Opines Stuttaford:
"So here we have a desperately poor country that has a crop for which there is a proven "legitimate" demand and for which it actually has some sort of competitive advantage (opium harvesting is labor intensive, and thus relies on cheap labor), but which is not allowed to sell that crop. That seems absurd. What's more, if we're talking about the laws of supply and demand, it has to be remembered that an earlier attempt to destroy the crop seems to have been counter-productive. By squeezing supply, it increased prices and created an additional incentive to grow more the following year, while at the same time creating additional political support for the Taliban. As cunning plans go, that doesn't seem to be the best."
Put me down for two tons.

(Hat tip to Glenn Reynolds at Instapundit.)

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