A Theoretical Perspective of U.S. Drug Enforcement and Its Pathologies in the Americas
This chapter introduces the theory of embedded corporatism to explain U.S. drug enforcement. It argues that drug enforcement is an international regime where the interests and power of American corporations are embedded in drug prohibition. The regime also includes corporate-funded think tanks, some members of Congress, civil society groups, and foreign governments. The power of American corporations within the regime facilitates domestic and international consensus around drug prohibition as a mechanism for corporate expansion and capital accumulation. The chapter demonstrates that democracies in Latin America have a higher level of human rights repression than countries in the developing world that are not democracies. Although GDP per-capita in the region is higher than other developing regions, income inequality in Latin America is significantly higher than the rest of the developing world. And while the United States is the supposed leader of the free world and the richest, its rates of incarceration are greater than those found in autocracies, and its level of income inequality is significantly higher than other rich OECD countries. It is argued that the paradox of human rights and democratization in the Americas along with widening class cleavages are the by-products of the embedded corporatist drug enforcement regime.
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