Hidden pursuits

What do migrant strawberry pickers, marijuana growers and Internet pornography users have in common? According to Eric Schlosser, they are all part of America’s black market economy, a massive system that contributes little to the tax base but keeps many Americans in business.

Schlosser, who skewered the meat industry in Fast Food Nation, takes a look at what Americans spend money on, and why or how they hide it. He begins by examining the growing of marijuana, a crop he believes is the nation’s second largest after soy beans. Americans smoke more marijuana and imprison more people for marijuana possession than any other nation in the industrialized West. Schlosser, in this his strongest and longest section, takes a point of view: the imprisonment of nonviolent drug dealers is not winning the drug war, and massive injustices are committed in sentencing.


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