The Drug War and Inner-City Neighborhoods

William W. Goldsmith

in The Oxford Handbook of Urban Economics and Planning

Published in print December 2011 | ISBN: 9780195380620
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

 The Drug War and Inner-City Neighborhoods

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  • Urban, Rural, and Regional Economics


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In depressed big-city neighborhoods, the drug trade serves as a key business, creating local jobs and income but at the same time introducing danger and stress. Besides drug sales or drug use, nearly all of the troublesome effects of drugs in the neighborhoods come from their illegality. This article focuses on the coexistence of a drug economy with neighborhood violence. It reports the size of the U.S. drug economy and its fiscal burdens. It also describes retail drug marketing as an inner-city business with a special labor market. Following this, it explores corporate earnings in the prison industrial complex and also looks at political earnings. Furthermore, it examines the high cost of collateral damages of drug illegality, and finally, discusses solutions. The drug war does not attack drugs, but it attacks the nation's most vulnerable neighborhoods and the people who live in them.

Keywords: neighborhoods; drug trade; drug economy; neighborhood violence; fiscal burden; drug war

Article.  13210 words. 

Subjects: Economics ; Urban, Rural, and Regional Economics

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