Saturday, December 06, 2008

Cleaning Up Amsterdam

It seems the government of Amsterdam has finally decided that all those brothels and marijuana joints (er, shops) are not such a great thing after all. According to this article,

The city is targeting businesses that "generate criminality," including gambling parlors, and the so-called "coffee shops" where marijuana is sold openly. Also targeted are peep shows, massage parlors and souvenir shops used by drug dealers for money-laundering.

Brothels, gambling parlors, and marijuana are generating criminality? I'm shocked, you'll be telling me that there's organized crime in Las Vegas--oh, wait... Still, the head shops (etc.) will not go away completely:

"It'll be a place with 200 windows (for prostitutes) and 30 coffee shops, which you can't find anywhere else in the world - very exciting, but also with cultural attractions," he said. "And you won't have to be embarrassed to say you came."

So: use zoning laws to create upscale houses for prostitution and marijuana shops? That's one way of handling it, I suppose. The Japanese Tokugawa Shogunate did something similar in Edo (Tokyo), by restricting geisha prostitutes to particular districts.

Now mind you, I won't be going around Amsterdam with a pile of Bibles and chastising people for immoral behavior. When in Rome, you needn't do everything the Romans do...or so my theory goes.

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