April 19, 2005

American Economy Not Tanking (But Pushing And Pimping)

Despite an almost 500 point drop in the Dow last week, the American economy is hardly on the skids, according to a book review of Martin Schlosser's Reefer Madness: Sex, Drugs and Cheap Labour in the American Black Market in The Guardian.
Some highlights:
- Americans spend more on illegal drugs than on cigarettes.
- While the nation's largest legal cash crop, maize, produces about $19bn in revenue, "plausible" estimates for the value of marijuana crops reach $25bn. [...] the drug is now the country's largest cash crop.
- Hardcore pornography in the shape of videos, the internet, live sex acts and cable television is now estimated to generate around $10bn, roughly the same amount as Hollywood's US box office receipts.
- Americans spend more money at strip clubs than at Broadway, regional theatres and orchestra performances combined.
- The total number of illegal immigrants is estimated at about 8 million and many are being paid cash in a shadow economy. [...] The advantages to the employer are clear, most notably in LA county, where an estimated 28% of workers are paid in cash.
- the shadow economy will continue to thrive as long as marijuana and pornography remain illicit.
The answer - as in getting it into the legal economy rather than remain tax-free, subject to police corruption and in mafia/gang hands - is to legalise all those industries. How else are they going to fund their fiscal deficit? The issues are hot here too, with the local newspaper running scary gang stories about the drug industry.
Link via Billmon

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