Market efficiency is market efficiency even when it's Albanian cocaine gangs

We’re not as coy as this:

“They have a long-term approach to success. They have got rich slowly. They now dominate drugs market prices by selling at the lowest price. They don’t impact upon purity by adulterating it — they make relationships upstream and establish staging posts through Europe and they have done everything in a slow, efficient, sustainable way.

“If they weren’t doing what they are doing, you’d take your hat off to them and say this is a fantastic business model.”

As is well known we’ve argued that such drugs should be legalised along with all of the associated branding, quality assurances and so on that would come with it. At the very least there should be decriminalisation.

And yes, market efficiency is still market efficiency and to be admired for that alone even when it is Albanian cocaine gangs. They’re providing people with what they desire at lower prices - leave aside that little difficulty over law breaking and that is indeed a Good Thing.

The point to this story though is this:

Saggers said the Albanians were so successful that they had “individually and systematically brought the price down from over £45,000 a kilo five years ago to about £30,000 a kilo now”.


One kilo of cocaine can be bought for as little as £3,800 in the jungles of Colombia


“I don’t think there is another commodity on the planet that generates that sort of difference between production and retail value,” he said.

We’re not entirely sure about that. These prices are rough estimates, but. Wheat is around £150 a tonne. Bread is in the £1 to £2 a kg range at the supermarket. That’s around a ten times price difference for the basic ingredient and the finished product. £3,800 to £30,000 is around ten times….

Yes, yes, yes, man does not live by toot alone and all that. But a ten times multiple from raw ingredient to finished product price isn’t that unusual.