chapter  5
26 Pages

Drug Trafficking as an Understandable Market Response: Urban Youth and the Drug Economy

BySam Staley, Kurt L. Schmoke

As discussed in chapter 1, cities in America experienced dramatic declines in population and economic activity over the past several decades. The decentralization of population and employment since the 1950s has drained many central cities of resources needed for sustained economic growth, finding them with fewer businesses, jobs, and tax revenue and with more unemployed, indigent, and poor. 1 The decline of America’s central cities precipitated a dramatic rise in “informal” or “underground” economic activity. A wide range of products and services, from child care to drug trafficking, has become part of the informal sector. While estimates vary, many observers estimate that the extralegal economy generates income well into the hundreds of billions of dollars.