Mexican drug cartels got a boost from plummeting corn prices

The war on drugs has traditionally focused on arresting cartel members and destroying product, but a new research paper from political scientists at New York University suggests an unexpected force that may be driving some farmers to drug cultivation: the price of food. Plotting the dynamics of Mexican drug cartels against the price of corn between 1990 and 2010, “From Maize to Haze” posits a new dynamic in the drug trade, in which a plummeting corn price leads farmers to shift to growing poppies or marijuana, which then spurs violence as cartels fight over control over the newly created drug production.

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