22 June 2017

What do unemployed drug dealers do?

A new article by CCDP Research Associate and Professor at the University of Amsterdam Dennis Rodgers, published in Third World Quarterly this month, looks at the cyclical nature of the drugs trade to trace its unequal patterns of capital accumulation and the impact on those directly involved in the drugs trade when the ‘boom’ turns to ‘bust’. Despite the frequently cited developmental impact the drugs trade has on local communities in Brazil, Mexico, or Central America, Rodgers argues that the impact of the drug economy moving elsewhere, becoming more elusive, or eradicated all together on those who benefitted materially from the local drug trade has thus far received little attention. Tracing through the historical background of a poor Managua neighbourhood barrio in Nicaragua, the article points to the post-‘down-turn’ lives of individuals who were involved as dealers in the drugs trade at different points in time. By doing so, Rodgers highlights what options are open to former dealers after the drug ‘boom’ and ‘bust’, how such choices are made or imposed on individuals, and how drugs can impact the lived experience of downward mobility.

Find the article here.