The Wire Turns Twenty | AIER

I haven’t even heard of HBO The Wire Unless it was already closed, only available on DVD. I quickly became accustomed to its documentary-like style, and swallowed all five seasons as quickly as possible. The series deals with the problems of Baltimore and, in fact, all the dysfunctional big cities in America. By doing so, it exposes the flaws of the big government and thus illuminates the way forward from the current abyss of crime and poverty.

After that initial viewing, I saw The Wire Totally four more times, for college courses I developed around it and taught three times in the 2010s. I saw it once with a David Simon-produced cognate Murder: Life on the street (Baltimore), Corner (Baltimore), Trim (New Orleans), The Deuce (New York City), Show me a hero (Yonkers), and We own this city (Baltimore).

The Wire It was first aired two decades ago, so some of today’s young viewers may need primers in certain technologies, such as pagers. For the most part, though, the epic series holds well because of its powerful storytelling, unforgettable characters like Omar Little, the gay robbers of drug dealers, and the public choice plotline.

Like any timeless drama, The Wire Offers something for everyone. For political economists, the series graphicly explains why Baltimore, like most major American cities, has become a hotbed of criminal chaos and despair and has never recovered. It begins before the city’s brightest signs of misery, the illicit drug trade, plunge into a more fundamental causal chain.

Drug dealers, druggists and others in the drug “game” The Wire Shows what people are – beautiful ugly idiosyncratic lemmings, deeply flawed but surprisingly adaptable, intelligent and resilient. People addicted to bubbles steal to get daily doses of their mind-altering drugs and street vendors like Wallace sell them to their loved ones. Both become mere pawns for the conspiracies of drug lords who pay no taxes in the city but nicely reward shadow lawyers for their courtroom and money-laundering skills.

But even shadowy lawyers influence rather than cause. Lock them up and fill in the other Saul Goodman-type voids. The same goes for international drug traffickers. Stop smuggling through ports and replace “WMD,” “epidemic,” and other drugs of the colorful street brand by truck or rail. Changes in the drug ecosystem, however, kill people, including drug users, who overdose because their dealers sell them and change the amount of heroin. And the bangers kill each other, and the innocent passers-by, when the turf war starts the balance of power goes to the gangs with the most reliable “connect”.

The Wire He also portrayed the police as human beings. Some police bright, hardworking government employees are hell-bent on catching bad guys, at least as long as overtime pay flows. As they say, cases go from red (unresolved) to black (solution) because of green (that means). Other cops steal from those who want to protect them, while other cops with badges are brutal thugs.

Radical inventors like Bani Colvin were thrown out instead of being praised. Rabbits try to establish a drug market in an open air in a few mostly empty blocks. Called “hamsterdam” by young businessmen unfamiliar with Amsterdam, they call it a somewhat more educated five-oh to run zone use for their decriminalization experiment, the system works so well to reduce crime that braces become suspicious enough to investigate. Instead of extending the test, they stop it and the poor Bunny falls on his sword. Leadership doesn’t literally stick its head out, but they do it metaphorically, as a lesson to other free thinkers.

Many organizations don’t really want change, they want money or attention, so they never take transformational reform seriously. The dysfunctional school district of Baltimore is a prime example. Federal regulation destroys any possibility of that failed reform.

First, the district receives full federal funding for any student who attends class several times before the fall deadline. The district therefore hired ex-cons to search for transits on the road and forcibly seat them. Once the minimum for funding is met, though, the school doesn’t really want the Trots to be seen again because they are academically backward and often disrupted in the classroom. They are quite deliberately left behind.

This is not to say that it is too important, as it rarely happens in Baltimore classrooms without “teaching on exams” which helps determine federal funding. A math teacher, a failed police officer, cut ties with students by teaching them the basic probability theory needed to clear a popular dice game, Craps. But administrators forced him to abandon his successful educational strategy. Despite the best efforts of the teacher, and complete sympathy and personal sacrifice, most of his students end up as drug addicts or criminals.

If The Wire What makes a text crystal clear is that good intentions do not produce good results in any case other than the most cursed, temporary or superficial way. In contrast to the long adversity, for example, Tommy Carcetti won the Baltimore mayoral election only to discover that competing special interest groups and fraudulent accounting, excessive police overtime, and severe budget constraints caused by the city’s continued decline have almost no effect on change. The basis of the tax.

The discrepancy between the tax revenue of the city government and its perceived demand eventually leads to numerous problems in the city. The series points to the beginning of the spiral of death, the collapse of the port of Baltimore, and the underlying economic history of the city’s manufacturing sector. Perhaps in the most touching scene of the series, Labor leader Frank Sobotka explains how the Americans made and made things, but now they just “put their hands in the pockets of the next person”. Soon after, international drug traffickers cut his throat and dumped his body in Chesapeake.

As companies and people fled the city, the former mostly foreign and the latter often in the Baltimore County suburbs, tax collection declined at the same time that the city needed or felt more money for police, education and various social. Inadequate funding for basic public services, such as garbage disposal, has made large parts of the city uninhabitable, resulting in more population losses, and even lower taxes.

When the city began to spiral into kleptocracy, no effective outside power could test its descendants. The once mighty fourth estate, The Wire Explains, a death of its own drowned in the spiral. As the city’s population dwindles, subscriptions dwindle, so the newsroom has been cut, created. Baltimore Sun. Less valuable to its readers, who have canceled their subscriptions. So more cuts have been made, and more subscriptions have been lost. Then came the internet and more people gave up their subscriptions. The last season of the series was once revered The sun Became a laughing stock, his reporters chasing the Pulitzer and failing to find out the truth from the lies he told with the new postings. The Washington Post.

In the end, The Wire The Baltimoreans have no hope, and there is no way out for statisticians. But of course a small town government would mean a better Baltimore.

There’s no easy way to reverse the city’s downward spiral unless the city government thinks it has to act as the parent of every resident, from their helicopter to the cradle (very early) to the grave. If taxes and city services were drastically reduced, people would come back, not by inflated bureaucrats, but by non-governmental organizations that compete for the lowest standards of safety, garbage collection, schooling, prisoner rehabilitation, and the like. – Reasonable price. The city can still provide a court of law and a scale-back police force, and there are some opportunities to improve both in the process.

Although the biggest objective of a good city government will be to benefit entrepreneurs, not to hinder business. If a factory or warehouse or whatever it wants to relocate, city officials need to figure out how to make it happen, not how to tax and control it. The new business will help the city improve by providing employment, which will ensure that the number of law-abiding citizens exceeds that of dealers and drug dealers.

The people of Baltimore, after all, are not born into the fate of crime or drug life. They are more likely to move to one of those bad places if it is surrounded by growth. Some of these characters The Wire Manage to escape from the drug game, but only after many difficult experiences or some common dumb luck. Although most are dead, imprisoned or humiliated. With less government and more opportunities, however, the real world does not have to forever imitate the industry that inspired it two decades ago.

Robert E. Right

Robert E.  Right

Robert E. Wright is a Senior Research Fellow at the American Institute for Economic Research. He is the author (or co-editor) of more than two dozen major books, book series and edited collections, including AIER. Best of Thomas Payne (2021) and Financial exclusion (2019). He has also written numerous articles for (including) important journals, including American Economic Review, Business History Review, Independent review, Journal of Private Enterprise, Money reviewAnd Southern Economic Review. Since taking his PhD, Robert has taught business, economics and policy courses at Augustana University, NYU’s Stern School of Business, Temple University, University of Virginia and elsewhere. History from SUNY Buffalo in 1997.

Selected publications

  • Reducing Recidivism and Encouraging Prevention: A Social Entrepreneurial Approach Journal of Entrepreneurship and Public Policy (Summer 2022).
  • “The Political Economy of Modern Wildlife Management: How Commercialization Can Reduce Game Excess.” Independent review (Spring 2022).
  • “The Sowing of the Future Crisis: The Rise of the SEC and the Nationally Recognized Statistical Rating Organization (NRSRO) Division, 1971-75.” Co-author with Andrew Smith. Business History Review (Winter 2021).
  • “AI ≠ UBI Income Portfolio Adjustment to Technological Transformation.” Alexandra Prozegalinska co-author. Boundaries of Human Dynamics: Social Networks (2021).
  • “Liberty is for everyone: Stowe and Uncle Tom’s cabinIndependent review (Winter 2020).
  • “Pioneer Financial News National Broadcast Journalist Wilma Sauss, NBC Radio, 1954-1980.” History of Journalism (Fall 2018).
  • “The Evolution of the Republican Model of Anglo-American Corporate Governance.” Progress in the financial economy (2015).
  • “The Leading Role of Private Enterprise in the American Transport Age, 1790-1860.” Journal of Private Enterprise (Spring 2014)
  • “Antebellum is a corporate insurer in America.” Co-author with Christopher Kingston. Business History Review (Autumn 2012).
  • “The Deadlist of Games: The Institution of Dueling.” Co-author with Christopher Kingston. Southern Economic Journal (April 2010).
  • “Alexander Hamilton, central banker: Crisis management during the 1792 US financial crisis.” Richard E. Silla and David J. Co-author with Cowen 6 Business History Review (Spring 2009).
  • “Integration of Trans-Atlantic Capital Markets, 1790-1845.” Co-author with Richard Silla and Jack Wilson. Money review (December 2006), 613-44.
  • “State ‘currency’ and conversion into US dollars: to clear up some confusion.” Co-author with Ron Michner. American Economic Review (June 2005).
  • “US IPO Market Reform: Lessons from History and Theory,” Accounting, business and financial history (November 2002).
  • “Bank Ownership and Lending Types in New York and Pennsylvania, 1781-1831.” Business History Review (Spring 1999).

Find Robert

  1. SSRN: https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/cf_dev/AbsByAuth.cfm?per_id=362640
  2. ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-3792-3506
  3. Academia: https://robertwright.academia.edu/
  4. Google: https://scholar.google.com/citations?user=D9Qsx6QAAAAJ&hl=en&oi=sra
  5. Twitter, Gator and Parlor: @robertewright

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