Monday, July 18, 2011

Update on Draft 4.3

Draft Four has been altered this week with one round of edits, and a second is mapped out. Some helpful comments arrived via e-mail, and much of the upcoming round draws upon those suggestions. I intend to add two new sections to the Introduction, one with background on why drugs should receive special controls, and a second sub-section (using material that is already in Draft Four, for the most part) that introduces exclusion and licensing, tying them into the rationale for control. I also hope to produce a preliminary chart of my proposals for marijuana and heroin regulation, and compare them with those of Transform.

Kleiman, Caulkins, and Hawken talk about (p. 18) a "no coercion" drug policy, and I sort of mention the importance of economizing on coercion in my draft. But I think I want to say more about it. I even envision a sequel of sorts, where I might have a separate paper devoted to expanding on this topic.

There were only two books on my Five Drafts reading list, and I suggested that I wanted to finish one of them, Ian Ayres's Carrots and Sticks, by this update -- and I did, amazingly. It is a quick read, and tells lots of interesting stories concerning commitment possibilities and stickK. The other book, now a venerable part of the Five Drafts project, is Last Call, by Daniel Okrent. The last time I checked in on this one, I still had pages 133 to 310 to read, having already consumed the beginning and the end. There has been very little progress, but now the unread portion is pages 151 to 310. My goal this week is to finish Last Call. I won't add another book into my wish list, in part to ensure that I am not diverted away from the fine Last Call, but also because my non-Five Drafts reading load is heavy right now.

The Draft Five deadline, Friday, August 5, is beginning to cast a shadow. Part of my commitment, incidentally, is to post that version on ssrn. Just typing that makes me nervous!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Update on Draft 4.2

In the previous update on Draft Four I noted that things would probably go slowly, as I was slated to be away for more than two weeks. Well, I am back now, and not fully happy to report that my prediction has been borne out. I have finally read Draft Four straight through, and was disappointed to find it so in need of improvement and even cogency. I have started to make the first round of changes in those directions, and hope to go through another round this week.

The Five Drafts reader might recall that when we last checked in, there were three books under siege. They are:

(1) Last Call, by Daniel Okrent, 2010;

(2) Carrots and Sticks, by Ian Ayres, 2010, and

(3) Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know, by Mark A.R. Kleiman, Jonathan P. Caulkins, and Angela Hawken, 2011.

Only book (3) made the trip with me, and my suspicion that it would be an easy read proved to be justified -- I completed it. It's written for an interested but not necessarily professional audience, and it comes in easy-to-digest bite-sized portions, due to the adoption of a catechismal style. Professionals (or people who work to some extent in drug policy, like me) will find value in Drugs and Drug Policy, too, in part because the scope of the book will cover some new ground for most of these readers, and because it will be the book to reference when referring to a particular point or argument with respect to drug policy. Indeed, I had already started to use it in that fashion for Draft Four, and more such uses will emerge in Draft Five.

So the coming week involves more of that continuous improvement plan, an intention to finish reading Carrots and Sticks, while making some progress on Last Call. I have in mind a new book to add to the Five Drafts reading pile but do not want to take on the full "public" commitment at this point. I am a commitment-phobe?