Read about 10 books on our 2 months of travelling… toward the end, read Reefer Madness: Sex, Drugs, and Cheap Labor in the American Black Market, by Eric Schlosser (also penned Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal)
Found it enjoyable — probably not as good as FFN, but that’s only because he didn’t cover each of the three topics of RM (Marijuana, Migrant Labor Abuse, and Pornography) in as much detail as he covered food processing abuses in FFN. That said, the book was thought provoking — I’ve never understood why the government doesn’t just legalize weed and tax it. Doesn’t seem any worse than alcohol, and it actually has positive uses (as a textile, treatment for pain sufferers, etc.). Also, the government’s change in direction with regard to pornography over the years has been fairly drastic… especially when you think about the fact that massive, publically traded companies now ship porn thru to tv’s everywhere (in your home as ppv, in hotels, etc) as commonly as title fights.
The book obviously caters to the liberals among us.
Some notes of interest:
pg. 186 — found interesting that one of the largest sellers of sexual ‘devices’ is named Philip Harvey (runs Adam & Eve / PHE) and that he actually leads a dual-life — “for more than twenty-five years Harvey has managed family planning programs in developing nations and written dozens of articles on population control for academic journals. He has spent millions of dollars earned … to fund non profit programs overseas … in India, Ethiopia, Brazil, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Philippines.”
pg. 219 — Adam Smith “believed that the interests of consumers must always take precedence over those of producers, who often care little about the public good and always seek to avoid competition. “The sneaking arts of underling tradesmen,” he warned, “are thus erected into political maxims for the conduct of a great empire.””
— Karen and I noted, in Thailand (and other countries during our trip) how true this was — specifically, that cars in those countries didn’t have seat belts for the rear passengers. Now, we know that the car companies (Toyota, etc.) fully understand how those seat belts save lives, but SIMPLY BECAUSE THEY ARE NOT REQUIRED BY LOCAL LAW, they decide to save the money and not install them, so as to remain $ competitive. That is despicable, and exactly why the public needs the government (basically, the citizenry) to be their advocate.
pg. 293 — reminder (in the acknowledgments) that Eric Schlosser’s work had begun/was encouraged by the editors at The Atlantic Monthly — he noted their “willingness to publish long articles challenging the conventional wisdom.” — I’d say that’s reason enough to pick up a copy of the AM from time to time, wouldn’t you?