Former drug kingpin “Freeway” Rick Ross visited Louisville in February to talk about his past work and his message to younger generations. This week, he appeared on NPR’s Planet Money podcast to discuss the economics of drug dealing. Hosts Alex Blumberg and Robert Smith run a series of scholarly ideas past Ross, and they find that while many economic theories are likely correct, the research doesn’t always match reality.
Economists say that people demand a “risk premium” to do illegal, risky work. But it didn’t feel that way to Ross:
“When you come from where I was when I started selling drugs, you feel hopeless. You don’t think you’re going to live past 24 years old. Go to jail, come out with stripes. Really wasn’t any risk
“Everything I had going on at the time, it was nothing. I was like a lump on a log. The risk most people would look at — you could get killed, go to prison — was Ok.”