About . . . . Classes . . . . Books . . . . Vita . . . . Blog. . . . Podcast

by Peter Moskos

April 26, 2009


I don't know if I should be proud or ashamed I love Vice Magazine. It's anti-consumer attitude is completely and unashamedly support by consumer culture and slutty American Apparel ads.

I don't know how to describe Vice so I won't. Let's just say it's eclectic and, among other things, sometimes provides a wonderfully unsanitized view of the world. Yes, there is some female nudity in pretty much every issue, but the only thing it has in common with Playboy is that I'll say I read it for the articles.

And, oh yeah, Vice is supposed to be free. But then you have to go to the right stores, none of which, evidently, are in my neighborhood. So I'm one of those losers that actually subscribes to Vice.

The current issue--loosely based on tech--features homemade explosive devices (from the Anarchist Cookbook), pictures on making Scottish Haggish from live deer to cooked meat, a photo-documentary on guest workers in Dubai, and lots more.

When I started reading Vice I just liked the hipster attitude (and the occasionally topless hipster girl). But then I came along this article and I realized the magazine was for real. Yeah, that's the prison in the Philippines where the guy makes all the inmates do massive dance numbers (and seems to have a harem of women prisoners on the side).

Where is all this going? Two good stories of note. The first is what I would call honest drug education about synthetic opiates. I can say no because other people said yes. It's effective not despite, but because it admits that heroin's high is as pleasant as "swimming through a sea of warm blankets fresh from the euphoria dryer."

The second story is about shipping drugs from South America in purposefully designed torpedoes.

We all know that submersibles are now used to transport drugs. But how many magazines interview the guy who "spearheaded the project"? I'll be damned if I didn't learn a thing or two (though I already know the war on drugs won't be won).

To give you some idea of the money involved (and why it's scary to think that criminals and terrorists profit from drug prohibition), in 2000 a kilo of coke cost this guy $2,100. He sold it in Mexico for $8,000 (and more in the U.S.). At three tons per torpedo, that's a profit of more than $17,000,000 per shipment.

At the time the street value for cocaine in the U.S. was $161 per gram or $161,000 per kilo. If you want to price it that way (as does law enforcement because it sounds cooler for the evening news), each shipment had a street value of $483,000,000. What wouldn't you do for $483 million. Now that's an economic stimulus.

No comments: