Social Movements and the Deglobalization of Cocaine

In chapter twelve, called “Cocaine in Chains: The Rise and Demise of a Global Commodity, 1860-1950” of the book ‘’From Silver to Cocaine”, Paul Gootenberg explains the rising cultivation, consumption, and export of cocaine. The drug quickly became a commodity of trade around the world, especially in Germany, Japan, and the United States. By the late 1800s, people were using cocaine as an additive to many concoctions, prescribed for all different kinds of real and imagined ills. By the early 1900s, the public became aware of the dangers associated with this drug and government systems (especially in the US) began passing laws in attempt to lessen the globalization of the drug, which worked to an extent, yet the drug manufacture, distribution, and use is still a problem today.

This chapter of “From Silver to Cocaine” is relatable to chapter five of Anthony Giddens’ book, “The Consequences of Modernity”. In chapter five, Giddens talk about the role of social movements in changing the future. He talks about how there are different types of social movements: labor, free speech/democratic, peace, and ecological. In chapter twelve of “From Silver to Cocaine”, readers are told how the globalization of cocaine began to head in the opposite direction, or toward its “demise”. This “demise” was due to the social movements that took place, and the laws that were passed. For example, in the 1940s, cocaine prohibitions became a big topic at the Geneva conventions of the League of Nations. “Social movements provide glimpses of possible futures and are in some part vehicles for their realization.” (Giddens, 161). Regarding drug distribution and use, what kind of future can we work towards through social movements? Can we decrease the globalization of harmful drugs and decrease drug use? Giddens points out that there are other means by which we can work towards a safer and more humane world other than by social movements. I believe that social movements and the like a great towards the attempt to better the world, yet I also believe that humans are naturally self- oriented. We look out for our own best interest, and this is quite a hindrance when trying to better the world. The discontinuation of illegal drug trafficking would lead to the loss of jobs and money. The people making money through these means know that what they are doing is not working towards the common good of the world, yet they do it anyway, because it is in their own best interest.

4 thoughts on “Social Movements and the Deglobalization of Cocaine

  1. The answer to your question is no, hell no. “This “demise” was due to the social movements that took place, and the laws that were passed. For example, in the 1940s, cocaine prohibitions became a big topic at the Geneva conventions of the League of Nations. “Social movements provide glimpses of possible futures and are in some part vehicles for their realization.” (Giddens, 161).” , Social Movements aimed at Moralist predilections, but it harder to undo changes than initiate them. Cocaine will be here until it has lost ts place as a marketable drug because it is obsolete or the entire area it grows in is destroyed by orbital bombardment by the aliens of Zog 123-b. The more important question is that, can a movement still fail even with government help, to preform a change?

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  2. The topic of globalization and drugs is extremely interesting to me. I was aware that cocaine was big in the US but i had no idea that it was so popular on a global scale. I feel as the population grows and the world becomes more accepting of drug use in culture the problem wont go down. As long as people can make a profit off of cocaine it will still be around, and that goes for any drug. The problem is that the people who are making the drug and selling it don’t care about how it affects the people who use it, and the people around the user, all they care about is making money.

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  3. Not all outcomes from Globalization are positive; sometimes this great concept can be used against us as you clearly demonstrate in your blog. With anything in life, as drugs first hit the market that have never been used for, nobody knows if they are harmful or not. It’s intriguing to me that during the 1900s we finally discovered the downside of cocaine but even more intriguing that the drug continued to spread and move across borders. I agree when you say “The people making money through these means know that what they are doing is not working towards the common good of the world, yet they do it anyway, because it is in their own best interest.” Another side to this may be where they come from. Not everyone if fortunate to be raised by a family with money and in a good part of town. As Giddens says, “the transformations of the present time occur in a world riven with disparities between rich and poor states.” (Giddens). Therefore unequal distribution of wealth is a key contributor to the globalization of drugs.

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  4. I really enjoyed your topic because I too chose to discuss a topic where globalization has a negative effect. I found the part where you said, “By the early 1900s, the public became aware of the dangers associated with this drug and government systems (especially in the US) began passing laws in attempt to lessen the globalization of the drug, which worked to an extent, yet the drug manufacture, distribution, and use is still a problem today.” to be extremely interesting. It’s very difficult for me to understand how the drug was around for 100 years before the public became aware how dangerous it is.

    I think it is interesting how you took Giddens’ idea of social movements to transition into your comment about how, “The discontinuation of illegal drug trafficking would lead to the loss of jobs and money. The people making money through these means know that what they are doing is not working towards the common good of the world, yet they do it anyway, because it is in their own best interest.” I think Giddens would also agree with this about many of the other problems in our society, namely obesity. Do you think your topic and support could relate to these other controversial problems as well?

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