Posted on 14 October 2012.
I am summarizing some Rigorous Research from University of Chicago, Economics Department, on Violence, Gangs, Drugs, and Poverty amongst the Blacks.
The key point of this research is that, despite of Hollywood Hypes such as “Scar Face”, 99.9% of people in a gang will have a salary of $3.30/hour, will have to live with their mothers, and have a 1-in-4 chance of being killed.
If you can get this one point across to the young minds of the at-risk population, they might as well as pursue a career at a fast food restaurant and be happier, safer, and richer.
Here is a speech I wrote during my college years based on this rigorous research done by University of Chicago.
“Sudhir Venkatesh, born in India, began to pursue his PhD in sociology at University of Chicago in 1989. He was studying under the eminent poverty scholar William Julius Wilson and volunteered to do field work on the causes of Chicago’s poorest neighborhoods.
Venkatesh was a thoughtful, handsome, well built, and a BRAVE Indian scholar, very much like many of our ECE Indian students here at Georgia Tech. He went straight to the source of the poverty of these communities, which was narcotics (specifically crack), and deliberately sought out the gangs who sold them to the communities to survey them.
“Well then,” Venkatesh, who got himself captured and held under captivity after continuously provoking gang members with sociological questions, still pounding away at them with his questions, “how does it feel to be African American and poor?”
Here we shall censor the responses that Venkatesh got in return. But we wanted to share the braveness, persistence, and patience of this scholar who risked his life to allow the academia to demystify the true financial compensation (aside from the Hollywood hype) of illegal-drug businesses in America.
So how does the drug business work? An awful lot like a Mcdonald restaurant actually, with its corporate-style book keeping: 1 CEO, 20 Board of Directors, 120 officers, 5,300 foot soldiers, and 20,000 unpaid rank-and-file members.
Here’s a pay sheet:
- CEO – $100,000
- 20 Board members – $500,000
- 120 Officers (each command 50 foot soldiers) – $7/hr
- 5,300 foot soldiers – $3.30/hr
- 20,000 unpaid rank-and-file members – negative salary, they must pay gang dues (many of whom wanted nothing more than an opportunity to become a foot soldier).
Now what is the typical fate you would have faced being part of this drug gang?
- Number of times arrested – 5.9
- Number of nonfatal wounds or injuries – 2.4
- Chances of being killed – 1 in 4
A 1-in-4 chance of being killed! That makes crack dealing the most dangerous job in America. On top of that, crack dealers spread violence wherever he goes and destroy solidarity and financial stability of entire communities.
And if the salary is only $3.30 an hour for an average Joe-Shmoe (McDonald pays 2 or 3 times higher), a clear headed scholar such as one of you would ask, why would anyone get involved with this dirty business?
Eta Kappa Nu (a national scholarship program) believes that it is ignorance that is feeding African Americans into this epidemic business that has been plaguing this city that we live in for decades (as well as this country that we live in). Thus in the past 4 years, we decided to work especially against the school dropping out rates troubling Atlanta and Georgia in general amongst the African American demographics.
Our working thesis is that if people, especially kids who are still in their formative years and not addicted to drugs, can stay in school long enough to understand that the payoff matrix of being a functional and contributing member of society versus that of a deviant and destructive drug dealer (in doing so who will most likely also have to live with his mother on $3.30/hr salary and have an 1-in-4 chance of somebody else “busting a cap in his head” to steal his job), he will have more incentive to stay upright and continue onto a higher education.
In pursuit of this goal, Eta Kappa Nu has team up with Hope Worldwide charity program for the past 4 years, the number one ranking tutoring program here in Georgia for the last decade now (and internationally, a $40 billion dollar a year charity foundation). With this joint venture, we hope to insert our scholastic influence with an age group whom are still defining their life’s identities, values, and attitudes in the most non-academic, impoverished, and drug-afflicted areas of our community, such as the inner-city Atlanta.
We believe that our effort to educate these children with basic skills of arithmetic, reading, and character, which we do together every weekend, will help these children get the message quite early that the narcotic business is not worth it. It’s just simple math. And plus you’re destroying your community, your family, friends, and neighborhood wherever you go.
So far this is the one of most successful projects Eta Kappa Nu operates. We run a poll surveying our participating Eta Kappa Nu members on their experience with this service project. Up to now, we have a near 80% satisfying response with our Eta Kappa Nu participants. And the kids absolutely love our Eta Kappa Nu students. These kids know our members by their names and look forward to spending Saturday mornings with our students.
Sudhir Venkatesh was a brave scholar who ventured into danger to obtain data to help the society to better understand the complex issue of poverty and drug-abuse and how it ties to the lack-of-education, in hope of making our community that we share a better place. Eta Kappa Nu, not so brave of-course, hopes to use his knowledge to help our own community here, such as the inner-city, Atlanta, to become a better place for our future generation. We hope that everyone can share our bright vision.”
But if you have worked as hard as I have and asked questions as you went along, at some point in time, you must answer the question honestly to yourself and others, how did so much cocaine get into the United States in the late 70s and all of 80s from Latin America and made itself into the most cheap and addictive form onto the streets: Crack, which pushed backwards 10 years of the good progress that the African Americans were making after the Civil Rights Movement.
The Affirmative Action program was putting millions of African Americans into the middle class with the Whites. Civil Rights movement has brought about so much equality and attitude changes among the Whites.
What went wrong?
Where were the coast guards? Where was the Interpol? Where was the United States of America’s Military?
Even a child in Middle School knows about Columbia from their World History lessons in the 70s and 80s. Columbia’s primary export for decades has being Cocaine (mostly into the United States). Even to this day, it’s biggest illicit export is still cocaine.
The United States have invaded Nicaragua, Guatemala, Panama, and many Latin American Nations in the past 50 years for land grabs, national interests, and for politics and bombed the crap out of them (e.g. for the interest of United Fruit Company). America has erected one of the most brutal dictatorships in Chile in the name of “Capitalism and Freedom.”
America has caused several countries’ economic meltdown in Latin America in the name of “Free Trade”, during a time when private ownership of capital, properties, and land wasn’t even a clearly defined concept in some of these Latin America’s cultures. The only reason the United States did not invade Cuba was because the Soviet Union was backing up Cuba.
But the United States sanctioned the heck out of Cuba for almost 50 years to the devastation of Cuba’s economy and its people’s livelihoods. And the CIA assassinated countless Catholic, Liberation Theology preachers in fear of the political and economical consequences of their preaching, with the consent of the Pope.
The United States is the God Father of the Western Hemisphere. No country can step out of the line on that the U.S. controlled turf.
So why has the United States never thought about using military intervention against Columbia’s drug cartels (without interfering with their national sovereignty). Even the Colombian know that their government cannot control their drug problems and cocaine’s un-taxed export, and it is opening the door wide open for the United States’ military for help.
(Cocaine is the chief source of most of the political unrest and instability in Columbia, where assassinations against the politicians and chief justices occur regularly. And in this case, only military intervention should be suitable because of such a high margin of return when cocaine is exported into the United States.
One pound of cocaine can be manufactured under $4,000 in Columbia. But that same pound of cocaine can be sold for as high as $50,000 on the streets of United States.) The consequences of not interfering in Columbia are dire against the U.S.’s own citizens — especially that of African Americans.
Why does the United States not care in this case when the U.S., historically, loves to meddle with other countries’ businesses. Why does the U.S. not see its own its clear interest at stake here? How does the United States choose its use of military?
The following is what most conservatives will call the “Leftist Conspiracy Theory.”
The United States Government Agencies were conducting secret-ops in the Middle East at the time that required unlimited secret funding sources for weapons to overthrow unfriendly regimes to secure the oil supply. Congress, of-course, was not going to approve this funding.
That funding, unfortunately, came from drug cartels in Latin America and went into the CIA. All of this material is now being unclassified to the public. You can read about it just about everywhere from even credible sources and intellectuals’ work at MIT and Harvard, famous intellectuals such as Noam Chomsky at MIT: “email@example.com.”
There are powerful forces at work in this world, and some of it we don’t even know about. Very little is revealed about what the United States Government was doing in the Middle-East during the 70s and 80s.
Famous presidents such as Ronald Reagan got a slap on the hand when the Iran-Contra-Affair was discovered and made public. He claimed, “He had no idea. But he will personally look into it.” But he didn’t.
However, we must make the best of what the government of the United States has done but never being revealed. The United States of America is still the richest and most powerful country in the world with the largest economy in the world. There is an economic effect called “The Trickle Down Effect” for citizens living in such a wealthy country.
With all of these years of violence in the Middle East, and especially the wars conducted after 9-11, the United States still has control over most of the oil supply there. And this is a crucial factor in America’s future and the future of America’s competitors.
The second largest economy of the world, China, is not growing as fast as it could, simply because China cannot get its hands on the oil supply that it needs. China tries to invest, build, and buy oil fields from everywhere United States does not have a strong presence with a policy of “No Interference with National Sovereignty.”
It even tries to buy oil from Sudan at a fair price even though all of the infrastructures are built by the Chinese. However, look at what happened during the 2008 Olympics. The United States Media blamed China for Sudan’s own Civil War that had long being going on before China even laid a step on to Sudan.
The Olympics Torch was grabbed and Chinese flags burned everywhere. George Bush was threatening not to be present for the Olympics. That is why China has to rely on burning the “environmentally-dirty” coal for almost all of its power plants to power China. And the United States is blaming China for environmental pollution while the US is hoarding all of the oil.
The third largest economy in the world, Japan, has banned the presence of Heavy Industry in their country because of the lack of oil. Government commanded the economy into focusing on semi-conductor designs and electronics. Nuclear Power Plants are essential to Japan’s Energy Industry. However, as you can see Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster, Japan is living on the edge everyday as a big island, entirely sitting on the top of the earth quake zone.
There will be no doubt that United States of America will remain the largest superpower and the largest economy of the world for decades to come, without competitors coming close.
In the 50′s, the Soviet Union tried to compete with the United States. it collapsed. In the 80′s Japan tried to compete with the United States. And now, Japan’s economy is in heavy debt with no way out for at least 20 years and never again at a position to ever compete against the United States. United States made sure of that by doing 2 things against Japan.
To guarantee and maintain the market for Japan’s unbalanced export to the United States, the US encouraged Japan to take up massive US debts as economic and political leverage for a small country against the massive military superpower. Then the United States let the Japanese Yen rise exponentially in value while devaluing the US dollar globally by printing more money, therefore making Japan lose hundreds of billions of dollars in the loans that it has given to the US. Then the United States helped to create the Real Estate Bubble in Japan that busted and caused an economic crisis for 20 years. Now Japan’s annual debt is 200% of its annual GDP. It will never be in the position to mess with the United States again.
The United States’ primary competitor of the 21st century is China, and the US is doing the same thing again to China: making the Chinese currency rise in value at the same time printing more US dollars to devalue its own currency globally (with China being the biggest creditor to the US debt with no way out anytime soon); creating a real estate bubble in China that if it bursts, China’s economy will be in the ruins.
In the 90’s, if you travel to your neighbor country, Canada, the Canadian Dollar was traded at 50 cents to one US dollar. Try again now. The Canadian dollar is currently trading at $1.20 for each U.S. dollar. And for the Muslim Oil Tycoons (and poor the Zimbabwe) who are hoarding US dollars as a safety currency, the U.S. dollar has devalued more than 10 times against their own national currencies since the 80’s.
Even the unconditional ally of the United States, the weak Saudis, has complained relentlessly against this to no avail. The US dollar is the international currency guaranteed by the Brent Wood System: the monetary management system establishing the rules for commercial and financial relations among the world’s major industrial states in the world, invented by F. D. Roosevelt’s cronies. Even Alan Greenspan announced publicly to the world at one point in his career: “The United States of America will never go bankrupt, because the US can always print more money.”
So to the preachers who are preaching that the dollars are being destroyed for the average American in the world, take a different perspective, you would see that, no, China, Japan, the Middle East, and African countries with unstable currencies are slowly being destroyed economically.
A lot of preachers in United States blame “godlessness” as the primary reason why all of American competitors came or will come to ruins in the end. “The US will always PREVAIL in the end. God bless America!” – I heard from one southern preacher once when I was studying at Georgia Tech.
So what does this have to do with African Americans, Latinos, and other minorities living as citizens in the United States?
You can have hope in the “Trickle Down Effect” and the values and the long history of “Freedom and Democracy” that runs deep in the veins of every American.
Two facts will never change in America:
1) US will always be a democracy
2) The “Trickle Down Effect” of a free market.
If you are smart, you will see, because of the different reproductive rates of the different races and the immigration rates from Latin America, accurate statistical prediction points out that by 2050, the United States will have 30% Whites, 34% Blacks, 35% Latin Americans, and 1% Asians.
Barrack Obama is just a beginning of good things to come for minorities in a democracy and a free country such as the United States. Even though Barrack Obama still has to follow all the “King-Makers” to his presidency, he has already made tremendous changes, a lot of it under the table, for the Middle Class and the Poor of the United States during the first term.
Even though Universal Healthcare Bill did not pass in his first term, there is a lot of unexplained federal money flowing into the public healthcare and welfare system during a time when the federal government is bleeding money into the Middle East War and the Stimulus Package while revenue from taxes keep on declining.
If the African, Latino Americans, and other minorities can be educated and united in a representative democracy, Obama is just the first of the wonderful changes to come to this country that believes in freedom and the collective voice and decision-making of every one of its citizens.