Reefer Madness: Sex, Drugs, and Cheap Labor in the American Black Market

Reefer Madness: Sex, Drugs, and Cheap Labor in the American Black Market

Eric Schlosser

Language: English

Pages: 352

ISBN: 0618446702

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


America’s black market is much larger than we realize, and it affects us all deeply, whether or not we smoke pot, rent a risqué video, or pay our kids’ nannies in cash. In Reefer Madness the best-selling author of Fast Food Nation turns his exacting eye on the underbelly of the American marketplace and its far-reaching influence on our society. Exposing three American mainstays — pot, porn, and illegal immigrants — Eric Schlosser shows how the black market has burgeoned over the past several decades. He also draws compelling parallels between underground and overground: how tycoons and gangsters rise and fall, how new techonology shapes a market, how government intervention can reinvigorate black markets as well as mainstream ones, and how big business learns — and profits — from the underground.
Reefer Madness is a powerful investigation that illuminates the shadow economy and the culture that casts that shadow.

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(Berkeley: University of California Division of Agricultural Sciences, 1974), by Stephen Wilhelm and James E. Sagen, tells you just about everything you’d care to know about strawberries—and more. Stafford Whiteaker’s The Compleat Strawberry (New York: Crown Publishers, 1985) takes a more idiosyncratic approach, featuring poems, etchings, history, folklore, gardening tips, and a recipe for strawberry toothpaste. Ernest Feder’s Strawberry Imperialism: An Enquiry into the Mechanisms of Dependency

rest of society. “An Empire of the Obscene” traces the history of the pornography industry through the career of an obscure businessman and his successors. It describes how a commodity once traded only on the black market recently entered the mainstream, turning behavior long thought deviant into popular entertainment. Profits from the sale of pornography that used to be earned by organized crime figures are now being made by some of America’s largest corporations. The current demand for

and vegetables consumed in the United States. Hundreds of commodities, from the mundane to the exotic, are grown in California, primarily in the Central Valley, an area that contains some of the world’s most productive farmland. By some measures, however, California agriculture is in decline. The value of its annual output, adjusted for inflation, has fallen 14 percent over the last two decades. Between 1982 and 1997, roughly 300,000 acres of California farmland were lost each year, mainly to

clerk at the Cleveland prosecutor’s office, helping to investigate Reuben Sturman. Taylor served as the general counsel for the CDL in the early 1980s and later became a senior trial attorney at the Justice Department’s obscenity unit. He prosecuted Sturman in the Las Vegas obscenity trial. The National Law Center for Children and Families strongly supports keeping children away from sexually explicit material on the Internet. Taylor thinks that Larry Flynt’s predictions are absurd, that

citrus grower. In 2003 the Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association gave its Lawmaker of the Year award to Nancy Argenziano, who heads the Senate Committee on Agriculture. “The essence of freedom,” Argenziano said, accepting the award, “is the limitation of government.” The laissez-faire attitude of Florida officials has left the U.S. Justice Department responsible for investigating the worst abuses of the state’s migrants. All of the recent slavery cases have been prosecuted in federal court.

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