Personal and academic blog. Explores the borderlands between rhetoric, politics and intelligence.


Free business idea for you: Eradicating poppy through urban hipness

So what about this idea I had this morning:

Poppy-growing in Afghanistan is a huge problem, on the rise after the ousting of the Taliban, who were quite effective at keeping it checked. Now, the Taliban capitalise on the poppy, just like a proud line of warlords before them, selling it off to drug-peddlers and buying weapons to fight NATO.

A lot of half-committed politicians have since then suggested that we buy the opium off the farmers instead of burning as we do now and alienating the Afghans further. But of course that won't work, because no western government so far has been willing to use millions and millions to buy poppies and burning them.

The solution could be the good old market. Why not stimulate the Afghan farmer to grow sorghum, wheat, corn, whatever, paying huge overprice, matching and even exceeding the poppy price pound by pound (which isn't really that much in the first stage of heroin production, one could add). Now, the neat trick here would be selling these crops (in the form of flour, half-and-whole processed products) to the politically and socially conscious western middle-class as "Afghan anti-drug goods", like you are able to further ecological and social welfare by buying Max Havelaar products and such.

This would take a hefty first investment and protection of the farmers for a while. Furthermore the customer demographic might not be that large to buy off all the products, but it would at least be a more productive way of countering the drug problem in Afghanistan.

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