Drug booms and busts poverty and prosperity in a Nicaraguan narco-barrio


The income generated by the drug economy can often be substantial for the different parties involved, even at the lowest rung of this illicit trade. Yet the drugs trade is also a notoriously volatile activity, meaning that drug-related prosperity is highly prone to boom-and-bust cycles. Drawing on ongoing longitudinal ethnographic research in urban Nicaragua, this article explores the consequences of the cyclical nature of the drugs trade, tracing its unequal patterns of capital accumulation, as well as what happened to those who benefited from the drug economy when it became more exclusive and then subsequently moved on elsewhere.