David McWilliams: The economics of the drug trade and the case for legalisation

We can undertake a social experiment no one thought possible before the pandemic

Buckingham Street in Dublin’s north inner city. Photograph: Crispin Rodwell

Buckingham Street in Dublin’s north inner city. Photograph: Crispin Rodwell

Closing down the economy for a year in order to combat a virus comes at enormous economic, social and emotional cost, and yet this society can adjust and function under the most stressful conditions. It shows that we have the capacity to undertake a massive social experiment that no one before the pandemic thought possible.

If we can do this, consider all the other changes we could make. The pandemic should allow us to contemplate change. On almost every policy, from education and the Leaving Cert to housing and the rental crisis, as well as public health, we could ask ourselves: if we were to start again with a blank page, how would we design policy, free of inertia, vested interests and conventional thinking?

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