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Wednesday, January 26, 2005
Reefer Madness by Eric Schlosser 
Eric Schlosser pullls no punches in this thorough and detailed account of America's 'other' economy. Really, have we ever wondered what makes America so rich that it lords over the entire world? Schlosser's research points to porn, pot and exploitation.

Schlosser starts by introducing the reader to Marijuana, its history, its effects and the arguments for and against its use. He talks about the growers and the law with regards to pot, then and now; and how marijuana sales generated millions of dollars in the black market. In other words, Marijuana makes America go round.

He then goes on to look at the exploitation of migrant workers in the strawberry farms of southern California. It's Fast Food Nation all over again. Illegal immigrant workers are paid fools' salaries, set up to take the fall when they do make it to sharecropper status, and the rich owners get richer whilst the taxman comes a-calling at the migrant sharecropper's door. I had thought that Mexicans from across the border would get the short end of the stick on this one, but they are not the only ones. Japanese migrants from the early decades of the 20th century have been working strawberry fields as well, and getting the same bad deal as the rest.

Sex, America's favourite hidden pastime. The exploitation of sex and the idea of sex has penetrated the American culture since time immemorial. Schlosser reveals the history of the commercialization of sex in following the rise, rise and fall of the industry's pioneers and American laws on the playboy industry.

In a nutshell, Schlosser is suggesting that Wall Street is not the epicentre of the American economy. Instead, Big Brother gets his allowance from pot, sex and slavery. The whole idea is very bold, very revealing and very cool. I like the thoroughness with which he researches his subjects. There is a doggedness about his method that you just have to admire.

Unknown  # 11:27 AM
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