This Man Wants to Legalize Drugs
Glenn Loury is the Merton P. Stoltz Professor of the Social Sciences and Professor of Economics at Brown University. He is one of the nation's foremost black intellectuals, having held positions at Northwestern University, the University of Michigan, Harvard University, and Boston University.
Loury's sometimes controversial dissection of racial disparities, systemic racism, and economic justice have often landed his views at the center of attention. Early in his professorial career, Loury made his mark as a distinguished academic economist with specific focus on the fields of welfare economics, industrial organization, natural resource economics, and the economics of income distribution. Once earmarked as the leading candidate for the position of under secretary of education in the Reagan administration before withdrawing his name from consideration, Loury also gained notoriety as a controversial social critic with right-wing perspectives that led to his designation as "one of the black darlings of the neoconservative intelligentsia" by Africana.com.
In the 1980s and 1990s, Loury became known for his abrasive critique of affirmative action and his propensity to blame racial inequality on the dysfunction and corruption within the black community, as opposed to the racist attitudes that some argued gave rise to this scenario.
In the late 1990s, however, Loury divulged a much-publicized split with the right, revising former viewpoints and attacking former colleagues. This break was formally ushered in with the release of his new book, The Anatomy of Racial Inequality, in February of 2002.
Question: Should we legalize all drugs?
Glenn Loury: I think I'd decriminalize. I think I would heavily regulate the control. I think I, if you're asking me, and my mouth is no prayer book, but my view is, I'd view addiction to these substances as a medical problem and I would treat it accordingly. What little I know about the history of drug control policy in the United States leaves me thinking that a hugely important moment came when the lawyers win out over the doctors on this matter.
That is to say, when the medical profession basically surrendered, and perhaps they had no choice in the matter, their autonomy to handle the difficult problems of addiction to substances, which is a medical problem, to the anti-drug crusaders, legal crusaders who wanted to make everything against the law and then throw people in prison. Just as we can see in retrospect that criminalizing the consumption of alcohol proves not to be the solution to the very real problem of drunkenness. So to what I want to say is the very real problem of the human susceptibility to addiction isn't best dealt with by building prisons and throwing people into jails.
Recorded on: August 18, 2009
Substance abuse should be viewed as a medical problem, not a crime, says Brown University economist Glenn Loury.
There is greater social distance between Americans than ever before.
- There has been a trend toward dehumanization the past four or five decades. This dehumanization has made it easier for us to see others more as commodities than as co-citizens.
- This dehumanization manifests in four different pillars: political polarization, income inequality, automation, and marketization.
- Whether through political splits, or income differences, there is more social distance between us than ever before. This distance makes it easier for us, out of ignorance, to treat others in ways that are inhumane.
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Should other nations start requiring schools to teach climate science, too?
Barbara Alper / Getty
- Starting September 2020, public schools in Italy will have to incorporate 33 hours of climate-related lessons into their annual curriculum.
- Italy's education minister said it's part of an effort to place "the environment and society at the core of everything we learn in school."
- In the U.S., not all states have implemented teaching standards that call for lessons on climate science, but about 80 percent of parents said they support such standards.