Lab a4: Sex and drugs
Sex and drugs
On OboxPlanet, drugs, pornography, and prostitution are safe, peaceful, and innovative lines of business. Just like any other industry, these historically controversial businesses are not regulated at all.
But how could that work? Wouldn’t this ruin society? Wouldn’t it encourage “bad” behavior, addiction, and violence?
Again. We get it. OboxPlanet is very different than earth, but this is also where it gets interesting.
Let’s look at the sex industry first. This line of business is perceived differently by different communities on OboxPlanet. This is why there are certain communities with contractual bans of prostitution while there are others where it is completely legal (obviously as long as it’s consensual). Still, certain things are off-limits. People that violate the generally agreed-upon minimum standards (e.g. rapists, people that consume child pornography) are dealt with by physically pushing them out of all civilized societies. Nobody wants to deal with them, and the ostracization has proven to be the most brutal and effective punishment.
Now on to the drug industry. Obviously, there are people who abuse drugs and get addicted. This happens in all societies. However, with the legalization of drugs, a lot more research has been done, and a lot of the formerly deadly drugs have been made saver for consumption. The use of psychedelic drugs in therapeutic areas has also been advanced, and treatments are widely available and up to the patient to choose. The biggest difference to our earth is the absence of a black market, which makes the manipulation of drugs a lot harder.
On OboxPlanet, drugs, pornography, and prostitution are safe, peaceful, and innovative lines of business.
Regarding sex, there are cultural differences and contractual regulations in many communities on OboxPlanet. Very few try to regulate prostitution but there are clear limits.
Physical abuses and child pornography are tabu. Violators get the old and tried and probably most crushing punishment for humans: ostracism and banishment. They get expelled from all societies, from all human contacts, nobody wants to deal with them. From time immemorial, this type of punishment has proven to be some of the most brutal and effective punishment and deterrent. On the OboxPlanet, it is reserved for the most severe crimes, because it does not require the initiation of physical violence.
Regarding drugs, their use has developed like all markets, driven by consumer demand. Marihuana, opiates, cocaine, and psychedelics have developed and been refined for medical and recreational use. Just like with alcohol, tobacco or shisha pipes on earth, there are different strengths and flavors and forms for consumption. Coca-Cola has re-introduced their former recipe with cocaine and Hershey chocolate has chocolate bars with hashish. As a general trend, people have replaced alcohol with drugs that produce less hangovers.
Natural opiates and many other natural drugs dominate many uses in medicine. One popular way to use drugs are clubs and vacation resorts fitted to one particular drug. There are e.g. psychedelic-spiritual programs, some with psychotherapeutic goals, others to increase motivation or spiritual awareness.
Of course, there are people who abuse drugs just like today. But while on earth, alcohol is looked at differently than illegal drugs, on OboxPlanet, treatments are equally available and sophisticated for all types of drugs, including relief from one drug addiction with the help of other types of drugs.
The biggest difference to earth is the absence of a black market. History has shown times and again that drug prohibitions were the steroids for organized crime to grow. The mafia really got established with the American prohibition in the 1920’s and there has been an unholy alliance between the state and profiteers of prohibition to expand the prohibition of drugs to ever more types. Today, organized crime profits as well as a huge bureaucracy, the prison industry, legions of lawyers, special police forces and many more, while thousands die in warlike situations all over the world.
What experiences on Earth, past and present, help us understand life on the OboxPlanet?
Once again, we don’t have to go far back for experiences we can relate to. During the 19th century, substances like opium, morphine, cocaine, and later heroin were freely available, over the counter. They usually started out for medical purposes and then get used for pleasure, inspiration or sensations of powress, drugs should, in other words, alleviate sickness and augment health. Various groups of people experienced waves of use and misuse, leading to regulations and prohibitions, particularly after 1900. Each effort to regulate or prohibit drugs has had particular effects which may differ, they do have some common effects that help us understand what people on the OboxPlanet do not have to put up with. Let’s look at some concrete examples.
One of the most radical experiments in prohibition was the outlawing of alcohol in the United States during the 1920s. It illustrates most of the general effects of drug prohibitions:
The Prohibition of Alcohol lead to widespread non-compliance with law. It caused demand for a black market and this in turn to a rise in organized crime and police corruption. This had a lasting effect, even after prohibition ended. The power of law enforcement got strengthened, including the creation of new federal agencies, illustrating that the powers that state agencies gain, they want to keep. Existing state bureaucracies which lose their enemies, keep finding new ones. After alcohol came the prohibition of weed, then psychedelics, then cocaine etc.
During prohibitions, the market for the prohibited drugs gets distorted. The price of alcohol rose, its quality declined, even poisonous alcohol got sold . The potency, in this case the percentage of alcohol per gallon rose because it is easier and more profitable to smuggle Whisky than beer. With drugs like opiates, consumers choose more effective methods of consumption, for example shooting opium into the veins instead of smoking or snorting it. Combined with the untested quality of the drugs, this leads to overdoses, HIV-problems and other health issues.
While the prohibition of alcohol was repealed after 13 years, while the ”war” on other drugs rages on. Its success can be illustrated by the fact that illegal drugs are reportedly available and used in prisons, even locking up people can’t stop them. Meanwhile, the US has the biggest prison population of the world with a sizeable part of the inmates doing time for consuming or trading drugs, many of them getting their education for a lawless career after release…
These effects can be illustrated in reverse when we look at what happens when states take a more liberal approach to drugs. Portugal in 2001, switched from punishing small time users to focussing on the treatment of abusive users. It seems that overall use has not increased significantly while there is a clear decrease of drug-related harm and crime, with positive effects on public health and the law enforcement budget.
The reason we dwell on these fact is to illustrate all the things that do NOT exist on the OboxPlanet. While paradise is no option, drugs there are well known, documented, available in all forms and flavors, just like alcohol on Earth today. There are no drug-producers, drug-sellers or drug-consumers in prison, the whole police and crime scene related to drugs is inexistent, it is all about self-responsibility and helping those with problems.
Now it’s your turn.
How would you change your use of alcohol and other drugs, if everything was freely available? What part of all crimes today do you think are made possible by outlawing drugs?
Things we could learn and implement from the OboxPlanet:
Very simple: end the war on drugs because it is a futile war on drug users. As a first step, regulate them like alcohol. As a second step, eliminate all regulations and restrictions. And legalize the oldest trade in history, prostitution.