I have been a member here for a long time. I love this site. It has some of the most interesting topics, and posts that you will find on the internet. Learning about the cartels is something I am passionate about, and I believe this site is one of the best sources on the internet.
I started reading back when CDG and the Zetas split. I watched both groups compete, it was extremely bloody, but both existed. At this time CDJ, BLO, LFM, and of course CDS were the main players. All the violence could seemingly be traced back to those groups in some way. Now, it seems that there is a new cartel popping up everyday. Some new group wanting respect, so the decapitate someone, or some other attempted display of power.
The question now is which way is better for the people of Mexico? We can all have hopes and dreams that America isn't going to continue to use drugs, but I think we all know that isn't going to happen. The other way to end drug cartels of course would be to legalize all drugs, which I am in favor of, but we also know isn't going to happen. So, that begs the question, which way is better? A 4-6 cartels that are powerful, and compete with one another, or a ton of groups trying to get a piece of the drug pie?
I think this is an intriguing question and I'm surprised this didn't get more responses. Then again, having been a long time lurker of this site for many years myself I suppose I shouldn't be surprised. There's not a whole lot of discussion that goes on here, usually just the translating of articles.
That being said, I actually disagree on the notion that the legalization of drugs would end cartels. There will always be an underground market, and when you consider the idea that many criminal factions these days do not have the sources nor infrastructure to move large loads of drugs yet still exist it becomes clear they are making substantial amounts of money via different means.
Los Caballeros Templarios for example at one point was supposedly making more money taxing local mining operations and avocado farmers than they were by selling drugs. Their taxing of the avocados actually pushed up the price globally if I remember correctly.
Other groups like the Cártel del Noreste and the Metros of the CDG seem to make the majority of their money collecting extortion and ransom payments. There is of course petroleum theft as well, which as we have seen the last several years is an immense market to capture too.
However, in response to your actual question I think homicides in Mexico have been steadily on the rise since the crackdown began. The fracturing of criminal groups as major, more charismatic and well known figures are imprisoned only serves to breed more violence as you have several individuals from the same clique all vying for power when one big shot is put away.
Thus spawning new factions as we've seen so frequently since Metro 3 was killed and since Z-40 and Z-42 were imprisoned.
Of course the presence of any criminal group is by no means an ideal way of life, but I think when we see new groups popping up once a month all intent on body dropping and kidnapping rivals it makes me think that even then when things were still rough that perhaps there was at least a shred more security?
There has been much debate in the international relations field about what distribution of powers between countries (i.e. unipolarity, bipolarity, or multipolarity) leads to more stability. I think the murder rate in Mexico in recent years coinciding with the fracturing and proliferation of cartels is pretty strong evidence that multipolarity does not beget stability.