Whyte —POLS1000-02—Spring 2008—Part One
The Book Reefer Madness “Sex, Drugs and Cheap Labor in the American Black “
Schlosser published by Houghton Mifflin Company Boston, New York in 2003 is about the
government’s view on sex, drugs, and Illegal immigrants working in the U.S.
The laws that we as citizens follow today may seem overruling and possibly absurd
sometimes but over years of people breaking the rules our government has come up with these
laws. The use, growing, and distribution of marijuana, the use of migrant workers and the use of
pornography are just some of the laws we must follow by today. The book explains the process
and the aftermath of the making and following of those laws. In the thesis of the book (pg.9) the
author explains how fascinating the “black market” is and shows how it’s worth being examined.
He places the cultivation, distributing, and consuming of marijuana, the uses of illegal
immigrants as farm workers, and the production and viewing pornography under the umbrella of
a black market society and studies them in his book.
The “black market” is very rarely seen or talked about in public today. When the word
“black market” is mentioned some think of China or other countries but very few think of the
United States. Schlosser states that the “Black Market” is the economic activities that remain off
the book, unrecorded, and unreported and in violation of the law. (pg. 4) Websters Dictionary
and Thesaurus defined Black Market as the selling of illegal merchandise. (Websters) The
American black market can be broken down into three major periods: moonlighting, money
laundering and stolen goods. First is the period of money laundering, from the years of 1970 to
1994 the gross domestic product (GDP) rose 8.2 percent from 2.6 to 9.4 percent. It is estimated
that Americans laundered almost 1.5 trillion dollars and didn’t claim it (pg. 5). The second
period was the moonlighting period. Prohibition went into effect from 1920 - 1933. Prohibition
was a period of nearly fourteen years of U.S. history in which the manufacture, sale, and
transportation of liquor was made illegal (Rosenberg). Americans spent an estimated $5 billion
on illegal alcohol at prohibitions peak (pg.5), this contributed five percent of the U.S GNP.
is the period of the distribution and use of stolen goods. This included marijuana, porn and the
use of illegal immigrants for various jobs. Although the black market was and still is very rarely
talked about it was contributed to cities and society for many years.
The book is broken into three main sections, each to describe the three periods of the
black market. These include; Reefer madness the study of marijuana, In the Strawberry fields
which the using of immigrant workers and last An Empire of the Obscene which deals with
pornography. The first, Reefer Madness, examines the cultivation, distribution and consumption
of marijuana in the market. The United States is not the only country affected by marijuana but