This week in The New York Times Magazine, Dubner and Levitt look at the rise and fall of crack cocaine, as a concern for the middle class.
“If so much crack is still being sold and bought, why aren’t we hearing about it? Because crack-associated violence has largely disappeared. And it was the violence that made crack most relevant to the middle class. What made the violence go away? Simple economics. Urban street gangs were the main distributors of crack cocaine. In the beginning, demand for their product was phenomenal, and so were the potential profits. Most crack killings, it turns out, were not a result of some crackhead sticking up a grandmother for drug money but rather one crack dealer shooting another — and perhaps a few bystanders — in order to gain turf.
But the market changed fast.”