Drug Crime Is an International Issue
Orette Bruce Golding has served as Prime Minister of Jamaica since 2007. He is the leader of the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) and was the founder of the National Democratic Movement (NDM), and is the country's eighth Prime Minister since it declared independence. He s the current MP of West Kingston and he hosts a monthly talk show called "Jamaica House Live."
Question: What can the international community do to help address drug-related crime in the Caribbean?
Bruce Golding: Crime that we are experiencing in countries like Jamaica and other parts of Latin America must not be seen in isolation. It is part of an international network; it is connected in one way or the other. Even when criminal elements are not themselves involved in international narcotics, they are somehow connected to that network of criminal activity and I think it’s important for us to see that, first of all, it is a global problem. And therefore it’s something that we all have to work, work, work on.
Take the trafficking in drugs, for example. And you know, South America is a major source of drugs entering not just North America, but Europe. If we are to tackle that effectively, it cannot be just simply on the supply side. It cannot be just trying to intercept boats and trying to exercise surveillance on cargo going on ships and so on. We also have to tackle it on the demand side. And I don’t think sufficient effort is being paid to that.
In addition to all of that, it has to be seen as a developmental challenge. The United... the World Bank has estimated that crime robs the Jamaican economy of 4% of its GDP each year. Look at what that means. It means that if we end a year where the GDP has grown by only 1%, but for crime it would have been 5%. And therefore it is a development challenge for us. And it is something that I think requires a global partnership because it’s interconnected.
The criminal enterprises in one country are linked in one way or another to a chain of activities that involve so many other countries. We have asked the United Nations to, by a resolution, to look at certain aspects of the international criminal business, for example, the trade in small arms. Crime depends on weapons. Criminals need weapons. The ease with which people in countries like Jamaica and the rest of Latin America and the Caribbean can get their hands on weapons is something that we have to tackle.
I have raised this matter with the United States. I know that there are certain constraints that would face the United States because of the Second Amendment. But I do believe that we have to apply more stringent measures to reduce the flow of arms into the hands of persons who then become criminal warlords in countries that have little capacity to deal with that sort of problem.
Ninety-seven percent of the guns that we recover—and we recover on an average, we recover 600 guns each year—97% of them are made in the United States. We can’t they came from the United States because they may have come through other countries, but they were made in the United States. And therefore we feel that some additional measures must be put in place to trace these guns. And to limit the ease with which guns can move from one hand to another and in a matter of a few weeks it can be in countries that just don’t have the capacity to respond to the threat that it poses.
Question: What can be done to reduce demand for illegal drugs in the U.S. and Europe?
Bruce Golding: Well, if you look at what appears in the media, for example. Every so often we see major drug busts; we look at what is happening in Mexico, the war that is on. So much attention is being paid on interdiction—to capture the drug before they get to the shores of the United States. I haven’t seen a similar kind of aggressiveness in terms of capturing the people who are receiving these drugs when it gets... when they get to the United States. I don’t get the impression that people who are using drugs and who are peddling drugs feel as intimidated as those who are seeking to export the drugs.
I think that there are three dimensions to the problem. There is the supply side; that has to be pressured. There is the transit phase; its movement from its location, its source, to its ultimate market. That has to be prosecuted vigilantly. And there is the demand side, those who are ordering the drugs, those who are receiving it. And I believe we need to put equal emphasis and equal vigilance, equal aggressiveness on all of those phases of the drug trade.
Recorded on September 25, 2010
Interviewed by David Hirschman
Prime Minister Golding says that drug-related crime in Jamaica and other countries in Latin America should not be seen in isolation: "It is a global problem. And therefore it’s something that we all have to work, work, work on."
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What is human dignity? Here's a primer, told through 200 years of great essays, lectures, and novels.
- Human dignity means that each of our lives have an unimpeachable value simply because we are human, and therefore we are deserving of a baseline level of respect.
- That baseline requires more than the absence of violence, discrimination, and authoritarianism. It means giving individuals the freedom to pursue their own happiness and purpose.
- We look at incredible writings from the last 200 years that illustrate the push for human dignity in regards to slavery, equality, communism, free speech and education.
The inherent worth of all human beings<p>Human dignity is the inherent worth of each individual human being. Recognizing human dignity means respecting human beings' special value—value that sets us apart from other animals; value that is intrinsic and cannot be lost.</p> <p>Liberalism—the broad political philosophy that organizes society around liberty, justice, and equality—is rooted in the idea of human dignity. Liberalism assumes each of our lives, plans, and preferences have some unimpeachable value, not because of any objective evaluation or contribution to a greater good, but simply because they belong to a human being. We are human, and therefore deserving of a baseline level of respect. </p> <p>Because so many of us take human dignity for granted—just a fact of our humanness—it's usually only when someone's dignity is ignored or violated that we feel compelled to talk about it. </p> <p>But human dignity means more than the absence of violence, discrimination, and authoritarianism. It means giving individuals the freedom to pursue their own happiness and purpose—a freedom that can be hampered by restrictive social institutions or the tyranny of the majority. The liberal ideal of the good society is not just peaceful but also pluralistic: It is a society in which we respect others' right to think and live differently than we do.</p>
From the 19th century to today<p>With <a href="https://books.google.com/ngrams/graph?year_start=1800&year_end=2019&content=human+dignity&corpus=26&smoothing=3&direct_url=t1%3B%2Chuman%20dignity%3B%2Cc0" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Google Books Ngram Viewer</a>, we can chart mentions of human dignity from 1800-2019.</p><img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNDg0ODU0My9vcmlnaW4ucG5nIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY1MTUwMzE4MX0.bu0D_0uQuyNLyJjfRESNhu7twkJ5nxu8pQtfa1w3hZs/img.png?width=980" id="7ef38" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="9974c7bef3812fcb36858f325889e3c6" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
American novelist, writer, playwright, poet, essayist and civil rights activist James Baldwin at his home in Saint-Paul-de-Vence, southern France, on November 6, 1979.
Credit: Ralph Gatti/AFP via Getty Images
The future of dignity<p>Around the world, people are still working toward the full and equal recognition of human dignity. Every year, new speeches and writings help us understand what dignity is—not only what it looks like when dignity is violated but also what it looks like when dignity is honored. In his posthumous essay, Congressman Lewis wrote, "When historians pick up their pens to write the story of the 21st century, let them say that it was your generation who laid down the heavy burdens of hate at last and that peace finally triumphed over violence, aggression and war."</p> <p>The more we talk about human dignity, the better we understand it. And the sooner we can make progress toward a shared vision of peace, freedom, and mutual respect for all. </p>
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With just a few strategical tweaks, the Nazis could have won one of World War II's most decisive battles.
- The Battle of Britain is widely recognized as one of the most significant battles that occurred during World War II. It marked the first major victory of the Allied forces and shifted the tide of the war.
- Historians, however, have long debated the deciding factor in the British victory and German defeat.
- A new mathematical model took into account numerous alternative tactics that the German's could have made and found that just two tweaks stood between them and victory over Britain.
Two strategic blunders<p>Now, historians and mathematicians from York St. John University have collaborated to produce <a href="http://www-users.york.ac.uk/~nm15/bootstrapBoB%20AAMS.docx" target="_blank">a statistical model (docx download)</a> capable of calculating what the likely outcomes of the Battle of Britain would have been had the circumstances been different. </p><p>Would the German war effort have fared better had they not bombed Britain at all? What if Hitler had begun his bombing campaign earlier, even by just a few weeks? What if they had focused their targets on RAF airfields for the entire course of the battle? Using a statistical technique called weighted bootstrapping, the researchers studied these and other alternatives.</p><p>"The weighted bootstrap technique allowed us to model alternative campaigns in which the Luftwaffe prolongs or contracts the different phases of the battle and varies its targets," said co-author Dr. Jaime Wood in a <a href="https://www.york.ac.uk/news-and-events/news/2020/research/mathematicians-battle-britain-what-if-scenarios/" target="_blank">statement</a>. Based on the different strategic decisions that the German forces could have made, the researchers' model enabled them to predict the likelihood that the events of a given day of fighting would or would not occur.</p><p>"The Luftwaffe would only have been able to make the necessary bases in France available to launch an air attack on Britain in June at the earliest, so our alternative campaign brings forward the air campaign by three weeks," continued Wood. "We tested the impact of this and the other counterfactuals by varying the probabilities with which we choose individual days."</p><p>Ultimately, two strategic tweaks shifted the odds significantly towards the Germans' favor. Had the German forces started their campaign earlier in the year and had they consistently targeted RAF airfields, an Allied victory would have been extremely unlikely.</p><p>Say the odds of a British victory in the real-world Battle of Britain stood at 50-50 (there's no real way of knowing what the actual odds are, so we'll just have to select an arbitrary figure). If this were the case, changing the start date of the campaign and focusing only on airfields would have reduced British chances at victory to just 10 percent. Even if a British victory stood at 98 percent, these changes would have cut them down to just 34 percent.</p>
A tool for understanding history<p>This technique, said co-author Niall Mackay, "demonstrates just how finely-balanced the outcomes of some of the biggest moments of history were. Even when we use the actual days' events of the battle, make a small change of timing or emphasis to the arrangement of those days and things might have turned out very differently."</p><p>The researchers also claimed that their technique could be applied to other uncertain historical events. "Weighted bootstrapping can provide a natural and intuitive tool for historians to investigate unrealized possibilities, informing historical controversies and debates," said Mackay.</p><p>Using this technique, researchers can evaluate other what-ifs and gain insight into how differently influential events could have turned out if only the slightest things had changed. For now, at least, we can all be thankful that Hitler underestimated Britain's grit.</p>
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