Musings from a Communist Nerd on jobs, income and crime

In today's world, making what people would call an "honest living" isn't so easy.

"My work's illegal, but at least it's honest."  -Malcolm Reynolds, Firefly

In today's world, making what people would call an "honest living" isn't so easy as it was in the past. We have an official unemployment rate of almost ten percent, which makes the "real" rate closer to fifteen or twenty percent. Thats two people out of every ten that cant find "honest" work. I have to use quotations because people consider what J.P. Morgan Chase and Lehman Brothers do "honest". But is it really? And what makes it so dishonest? Especially when you look at what people in U.S. prisons have done to get there.

First, remember we have the largest prison population in the world. IN THE WORLD! Yes, Virginia, that includes China as well. The same China that the media would have you believe throws anyone in prison for looking at an official the wrong way. We have more people in prison than they do. And much of our prison population are there for non-violent crimes, such as possession of cannabis, an harmless plant to human life. Weather you are for, against, or have no opinion on the subject, remember that cannabis doesn't actually hurt anyone.

That being said, I had an interesting conversation with a friend of mine who happens to sell cannabis for human consumption. He only gets his green from U.S. farmers, and distributes locally for what is considered a fair price. Talking to him the other day, I found out that it is how he has to make ends meet in this day and time. He told me that with the baby here, and mom is on leave, he needs his green money more than ever. Before, it was how they had disposable income, and how they even had a savings account. But now, it is income. It is relied upon to some degree in their house hold. He has a steady job, but he would have to work 18hr days, 6 days a week to make up what his side business supplements. Because of his sales, he can work normal hours, and have time with his family. But by supporting his family, he actually puts them all at risk. Even possessing the plant in small quantities can land you in prison here in Texas, and in many states.

We know that in times of hardship, people will do anything to get by. In the last depression, bank heists were common. Now, if you rob a bank, you probably wouldn't get much, as our currency has largely been converted into digital transactions. But prohibition helped many people during the same time get by, and people still argued that alcohol was immoral because it was illegal.

We actually have an issue in this country where people think the law is automatically moral. What is legal is moral, and what is illegal is immoral. We are taught that at a very young age and it needs to stop. How in the world does feeding your baby equate to immorality? I know there is a line, but that line is usually violent crime. As this depression deepens, and has more jobs get shipped over seas, more crime will happen, as people seek for any way to feed their families and take care of themselves. As it becomes harder to make an honest living, it becomes much easier to justify the risk of getting caught if you need to get by. If you really want to stop crime, get people to work and pay a living wage. Maybe if congress took funding from the war on drugs and used it to fund a labor program that gave us living wages, we wouldn't have so much of a drug "problem" in our country. In my opinion, its worth a shot.

- Brandon Ivey, The Communist Nerd






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  • good thoughts!
    jim lane in Dallas

    Posted by jim lane, 06/03/2011 11:52am (11 years ago)

  • This is an incredibly well written article.
    I can't state enough how much i agree with this piece!

    Posted by Loana Amira, 06/01/2011 9:41pm (11 years ago)

  • I completely agree comrade. The drug trade is largely a way to help feed the prison industrial complex,and does nothing to really help people with dependency issues. I think a good model to emulate would be Portugal.

    Posted by Tim, 06/01/2011 9:41pm (11 years ago)

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