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. He reveals 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.
© 2003 Eric Schlosser; (P)2003 Simon & Schuster Inc. All rights reserved. AUDIOWORKS is an imprint of Simon & Schuster Audio Division, Simon & Schuster Inc.
"Like Fast Food Nation, this is an eye-opening book, offering the same high level of reporting and research." (Publishers Weekly)
"Schlosser's precise outrage is as compelling off as on the page." (AudioFile)
I really liked this book. Eric Slosser always brings an interesting point of view to a topic. I found myslelf questioning my notions on drugs and immigration.
My only negative is Mr. Slosser's voice. I found it a little drab and boring. The subject matter made up for that, but it was a little ditracting in the beginning.
I bought this book with hig expectations. I was very impressed with the previous book by this author "Fast Food Nation" . I found this book a little too tedious and lengthy. I think an abriged version of this book might be a better "read". But, the biggest letdown was the narration. The narator of Fast Food Nation was very good, he kept the listner engaged with his enthusiatic style. Eric the author himself narrates this book and I found him very monotonous and boring.
This is the first book I've ever stopped listening to out of boredom and I've been a member for years. It's not that the author doesn't have points to make. It's that he takes so long to make them, and they hardly qualify as revelations.
Skip this title.
Say something about yourself!
This book is very very very very repetitive. You will here the same ideas and same examples multiple times. Don't bother.
Well researched with lots of facts, but read with dejection like a monotonous shopping list.
If insipid droning is your kind of thing, I strongly recommend this book.
Reefer Madness is fatalistic but in a very unique, unexciting kind of way.
A slanted shallow one sided view of the drug problem. It appears the author has had a little too much of the "reefer" he writes about. The premise of a tremendous underground economy is believeable. His stories of all the poor persecuted marijuana growers is too much too stomach. Stay away from this.
Eric's book dynamically portrays the reality of how food in modern day America is produced and challenges us to make conscious food choices for a saner planet. A must read!
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