Reefer madness : sex, drugs, and cheap labor in the American black market

by Schlosser, Eric.

Format: Print Book 2003
Availability: Available at 1 Library 1 of 1 copy
Available (1)
Location Collection Call #
Community Library of Castle Shannon Non Fiction 330 Schloss
Location  Community Library of Castle Shannon
Collection  Non Fiction
Call Number  330 Schloss
In Reefer Madness, the best-selling author of Fast Food Nation investigates America's black market and its far-reaching influence on our society through three of its mainstays -- pot, porn, and illegal immigrants. The underground economy is vast; it comprises perhaps 10 percent -- perhaps more -- of America's overall economy, and it's on the rise. Eric Schlosser charts this growth, and finds its roots in the nexus of ingenuity, greed, idealism, and hypocrisy that is American culture. Hereveals the fascinating workings of the shadow economy by focusing on marijuana, one of the nation's largest cash crops; pornography, whose greatest beneficiaries include Fortune 100 companies; and illegal migrant workers, whose lot often resembles that of medieval serfs.
All three industries show how the black market has burgeoned over the past three decades, as America's reckless faith in the free market has combined with a deep-seated puritanism to create situations both preposterous and tragic. Through pot, porn, and migrants, Schlosser traces compelling parallels between underground and overground: how tycoons and gangsters rise and fall, how new technology shapes a market, how government intervention can reinvigorate black markets as well as mainstream ones, how big business learns -- and profits -- from the underground.
With intrepid reportage, rich history, and incisive argument, Schlosser illuminates the shadow economy and the culture that casts that shadow.
Published Reviews
Booklist Review: "Schlosser is the author of the best-selling Fast Food Nation (2001), which was a consciousness-raising examination of the fast-food industry. He now turns his reporting acumen to American underground economic activity, which, according to him, constitutes 9 to 10 percent of this country's economy--in other words, millions and millions of dollars that "cannot be accounted for." The black market in the U.S. "is where economic activities remain off the books, where they are unrecorded, unreported, and in violation of the law." The author focuses on three major black-market arenas: marijuana, the most widely used illegal drug in the U.S.; migrant workers in California, most of them illegal immigrants; and the pornography industry. Of course, woven into his account of this trio of black-market gold mines is also an examination of their effect on all of us, for the consequences are far reaching, from employing a child-care worker to downloading pornography off the Internet. His careful research and equally careful writing style contribute to a study that is certain to garner as much attention as his previous book. --Brad Hooper"
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review: "From the bestselling author of Fast Food Nation comes this captivating look at the underbelly of the American marketplace. In three sections, Schlosser, an Atlantic Monthly correspondent, examines the marijuana, migrant labor and pornography trades, offering compelling tales of crime and punishment as well as an illuminating glimpse at the inner workings of the underground economy. The book revolves around two figures: Mark Young of Indiana, who was sentenced to life in prison without parole for his relatively minor role in a marijuana deal; and Reuben Sturman, an enigmatic Ohio man who built and controlled a formidable pornography distribution empire before finally being convicted of tax evasion, after beating a string of obscenity charges. Through recounting Young's and Sturman's ordeals, and to a lesser extent, the lives of migrant strawberry pickers in California, Schlosser unravels an American society that has "become alienated and at odds with itself." Like Fast Food Nation, this is an eye-opening book, offering the same high level of reporting and research. But while Schlosser does put forth forceful and unique market-based arguments, he isn't the first to take aim at the nation's drug laws and the puritanical hypocrisy that seeks to jail pornographers while permitting indentured servitude in California's strawberry fields. Nevertheless, this is a solid-and timely-second effort from Schlosser. As world events force Americans to choose values worth fighting for, Schlosser reminds readers, "the price of freedom is often what freedom brings." (May 5) Forecast: Although this book may not score as high as Fast Food Nation did with readers, a 15-city author tour and ads in the New York Times and Mother Jones will help sales. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved"
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Additional Information
Subjects Informal sector (Economics) -- United States -- Case studies.
Black market -- United States -- Case studies.
Marijuana abuse -- United States.
Migrant agricultural laborers -- California.
Illegal aliens -- California.
Sex industry -- United States.
Publisher Boston :Houghton Mifflin,2003
Language English
Description 310 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Bibliography Notes Includes bibliographical references (pages 284-292) and index.
ISBN 0618334661
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