Drug trade and International Political Economy

Drug trade

Drug trafficking is globe issue and it involves production, manufacturing, distribution, sale and consumption under the illegal section of law. Different organizations are working on understanding the market better which means they will able to root out the problem one day. Currently 340 tons of heroin is consumed every year and 430-450 tons circulate in the market. Myanmar, Lao people republic and Afghanistan are the main production countries of opium and heroin. (UNODC, 2010).


IPE or international political economy, it is engraved in social sciences and it is used in order to comprehend the concept of global issues by making use of theories and other interdisciplinary tools. It may be just a sub-field but recently it has evolved more than just a sub-field of international relations. With more and more growth and focus on internal political economy there are now less boundaries to separate politics and economy, this is very important because this encourage the policy makers to understand the aspects from the point of view of every discipline, this means understanding from multidisciplinary, interdisciplinary and trans disciplinary aspect. When a policy maker understand the problem from more than one aspect he is likely to make a policy that helps in removing the root rather than punishing the fruit. It helps with the boundaries that limit the rationality and logical thinking, so basically it helps in focusing on the problem without thinking that it belongs to just one discipline of just one specific department (Veseth, 2015).

DrugAmerican Addiction Centers

History of IPE

International political economy was only related to the international relations in 1970’s and 80’s, it was taken as just a form of analysis that was just a sub-field. It never had its own identity, so it was known as political economy of international relations because it was just a sub-field of international relations. This field only revolved around the global trade, global finance, globalization, hegemony, north-south relations and multinational corporations. The first five were included before however, after the rapid technology advancement globalization became a big challenge, it was added in 90’s and since then it has focused on global issues, crises, climate change and financial instability that has effected throughout the world. (UNODC, 2010)

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Theories of IPE

These all theories help the countries to adopt specific patterns of trade and also it helps to understand the implications of conflict cooperation and also involvement of trade commerce. To understand the international trade it is very important to know about the following theories.


This theory suggests that the countries use trade in order to maintain the power advantage as compared to the other countries. You only trade with countries if it enhances your own power. The main idea is to be independent and to avoid everything that can make you dependent on other countries. The thought is that you need to be self-sufficient enough that in hour of need others won’t be able to drag your down.

In 19 century countries used this strategy a lot, this is the reason they had walls and boundaries, they grew their own food and were sufficient enough to defend themselves. Countries still use this strategy to be self-sufficient, they manipulate market by raising price of international goods so that people buy the local goods, and this is called protectionism. This also helps in providing jobs and so if anyone wants to come up with a strategy it is better to ask them to get their company in the country first.(Mares, 2011).


Countries like Afghanistan are working on this theory they know everything that is going on, they know they are the major producers of drugs but they choose to do nothing because that is making them strong and independent. They are only focused on their own country and people.

Mercantilism STMU History Media


It is also called economic neo-liberalism. People and countries who support liberalism actually support an idea of free trade, they are in favor of removing every barrier, obstacle and even protectionism. They support free economic transactions as much as needed, this actually means you only focus on the products you are best at and leave the rest to others. This policy is also followed by a lot countries till date. (Mares, 2011).


Canada is one of the major countries that encourages liberalism, they appreciate and focus on what they are best at and they let other countries come up what they are best at. However they know what is going on in the market and still know how to protect their people. They have strong policies against drugs.

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It addresses the problem that both liberalism and mercantilism failed to address Marxism came up, it addressed the basic problem that by this method rich will get richer and poor will get poorer, this will mean that countries with stable economy will have more job where as the countries with unstable economy will have easy and cheap labor. Marxism want trade to be fair for countries as well as for people and it also helps to protect the rights of the labors.


Most countries follow this approach they want trade to be fair between countries and they want to stabilize their countries but they want to do it on the expense of other which is against the rule of Marxism.(UNODC, 2010).

MarxismSocialist Project

International trade and drug trade

Internationally trade has some policies, every trade is bounded by laws, some are free other however are expensive and some are even illegal. International political economics focus on the trade from all disciplines and use different theories and frameworks. The basic issue is every state think about his own population and the geographical region, these are stable factors and describe the domain, and markets focus on the exchange, linkage and other things that provide them support. Contrary to the countries markets are borderless, they have dynamic borders they rarely have definite borders. Many markets have even become global and infect some even have crossed sacred boundaries of the state.

When we talk about global or international trade we talk about the trade between two countries and this is a topic of political scrutiny. International trade is always complex matter, what’s legal in one country is illegal in other and sometimes this become a problem. Due to all these issues international trade has gained a lot of interest from policy makers and IPLE analysists and experts. By focusing on the trade history we can end up with many conclusions that include the evolution over the time. In the era of cold war, US hegemony and east west strategy were working parallel. Trade became consolidate regional interest in 1980’s to 90’s with the help of regional economics.  Later this became a controversial topic when globalization and creative economy power became more advanced.

DrugThe Conversation

Illegal drug trade or in other words drug trafficking comes under almost all the fields that involve state affairs and policy making, these includes political science, international relations, state law and other law affairs. All these fields provide multidimensional prospective to the policy makers and help them with understanding the situation easily. Drugs on war was long before the war on terrorism was a hot topic, so before terrorism drugs were the biggest problem and united states have been on war with it for over four decades now. This has provided a proper analysis of public policy and the analysis on the matter of policy making. Where we are bridging the gaps by providing multidimensional aspects to one problem there are still some things that cloud the judgment, they include race and ethnicity. This is one of the major reasons crimes are mostly reported and associated with the race and color. By using the multidimensional prospective this can be reduced. This is very controversial topic for policy making because at the root they are tightly entangled with the civil rights, this means that law and the society analyst will also include in this.

Regardless of the fact that all proves are documented properly and they are linked with heath and social problems which make it more complex. In many western countries alcohol was banned but this was just for a little time but on the other hand Tobacco was never banned although it is admitted globally that it is injurious to health. Science, politics, political science, public relations and international relations are all involved when it comes to policy making that focus on the health of the people. All these interdisciplinary studies demolish the boundaries and give a broader prospective of the situation. Political theories can talk about the limitations of individual rights that affect the rights of the society, and the issue of drugs is one of them where this is very important to determine what is the actual problem that is affecting the policy making process. (Veseth, 2015).

DrugThe Nation

The theory of comparatives in IPE focus virtually on all the aspects that are used in this field, it also argues and it also differentiate between the policies that are applied in different countries regarding the drugs, its use, sale and production. Drug trafficking is a global issue and it is working under international rules that declares that it is illegal. All in all it is fruitful from all prospective when we analyze from realist, institutional and constructional approach.  In every country drug trafficking is different in some it has different forms in others it has other variations they also differ in terms of transportation ways of transportation and other political and economic issues.

Most of the studies focus on just cocaine, heroin and marijuana but there are other genres that also come in the form of illegal drugs, they may include pot, myth, ecstasy and others. Not only the drugs are rated as expensive and cheap but countries are also rated as cheap and expensive according to the demands. There are poor or producing countries that export the drugs like Afghanistan where as there are rich or consumer countries like USA, this truly explain the entire drug trafficking route. So in order to understand and make rules about it, it is very important to know about all these things first. (warwick, 2016).



Colombian drug story of Pablo Escobar explains everything completely from head to toe. America was not involved in the procedure and Colombia was getting rich with all that money, so the government and policy makers were both not interested but as soon as high school teenagers started to die due to over dose and the Cocaine reached the Los Vegas and Miami it was a red signal. Colombia was facing long before facing the death of people every day but as long as it was not affecting USA he was not involved soon after the hunt began because it involved the combined interest. This is a true example of the liberalism, Marxism and Mercantilism. Unless the countries don’t get involved policy makers don’t care about the global safety. (Mares, 2011).


Mares, D. (2011). international political economy of illegal drugs. Retrieved from Oxford Biblography: http://www.oxfordbibliographies.com/view/document/obo-9780199756223/obo-9780199756223-0029.xml

UNODC. (2010). drug trafficking. Retrieved from United Nations Office on Drug and Crime: https://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/drug-trafficking/

Veseth, M. (2015). what is international political economy? Retrieved from University of Puget Sound: https://www.pugetsound.edu/academics/departments-and-programs/undergraduate/ipe/what-is-ipe/

warwick. (2016). Theories and issues in international political economy. Retrieved from WarWick: http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/pais/study/studymasters/pgmodules/po942/

Cohen, Benjamin J. (2008). International Political Economy: An Intellectual History. Princeton

University Press.

Helleiner, Eric (1995). States and the Reemergence of Global Finance: From Bretton Woods to

the 1990sCornell University PressISBN 0-8014-8333-6.

Feature Image Credits: Unsplash

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