Download Dangerous Harvest: Drug Plants and the Transformation of by Michael K. Steinberg (Editor), Joseph J. Hobbs (Editor), PDF

By Michael K. Steinberg (Editor), Joseph J. Hobbs (Editor), Kent Mathewson (Editor)

All through heritage just about all conventional indigenous societies have used psychoactive components derived from crops in non secular and therapeutic rituals. as soon as such vegetation are followed through outsiders for profane use, the customarily impoverished peasant farmers who develop them are confronted with a lifetime of severe poverty or are lured through the possibility of a truly profitable funds crop with a gradual industry. prior to lengthy, their cultural and actual panorama is vastly altered. the aim of this booklet is to discover this factor from quite a few views, starting from opium creation in Afghanistan and Pakistan to peyote gardens in south Texas.

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Sample text

Finally, in the early twentieth century, the major European powers prohibited narcotic drugs — a social experiment whose scale and costs are still not fully appreciated. During the interwar period from 1925 to 1941, the United States and the League of Nations led a global campaign that sharply reduced legal opiate cultivation and processing in both Asia and Europe. In this void between falling supply and constant demand, criminal syndicates quickly emerged to take control of the illicit drug traffic in both China and the West.

Department of Commerce 1916: 713; Rey 1963: 44–46; Issawi 1972: 238– 240). By the time Britain formally abandoned its advocacy of the drug trade in 1907, opium had become a global commodity. The Southeast Asian opium trade was another creation of European colonialism. During the nineteenth century, licensed opium dens became a unique Southeast Asian institution, sustaining mass addiction and generating substantial revenues. In 1905–1906, for example, opium sales provided 16 percent of all taxes for the Netherlands Indies, 20 percent for Siam, and 53 percent for British Malaya (International Opium Commission 1909: 359–365).

During this period, residents of Persia and India began eating and drinking opium mixtures as a recreational euphoric. Indeed, under the reign of Akbar (1556–1605), the great Mughal state of north India relied upon opium production as a significant source of revenue. Although cultivation covered the whole empire, it was concentrated in two main areas—upriver from Calcutta along the Ganges Valley for Bengal opium and upcountry from Bombay in the west for Malwa opium (Owen 1934: 5–6). The rise of Europe’s mercantile empires after the seventeenth century slowly transformed Asia’s opium trade, amplifying its scale and changing its dominant use to recreational—adding a new dimension to a drug whose use had been, for several millennia, largely medicinal.

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