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Rogue Economics : Capitalism's New Reality
What do Eastern Europe's booming sex trade, America's subprime mortgage lending scandal, China's fake goods industry, and celebrity philanthropy in Africa have in common? With biopirates trolling the blood industry, fish-farming bandits ravaging the high seas, pornography developing virtually in Second Life, and games like World of Warcraft spawning online sweatshops, how are rogue industries transmuting into global empires? And will the entire system be transformed by the advent of sharia economics? With the precision of an economist and the narrative deftness of a storyteller, syndicated journalist Loretta Napoleoni examines how the world is being reshaped by dark economic forces, creating victims out of millions of ordinary people whose lives have become trapped inside a fantasy world of consumerism. Napoleoni reveals the architecture of our world, and in doing so provides fresh insight into many of the most insoluble problems of our era.
After looking into how terrorism gets paid for (Terror Incorporated: Tracing the Money Behind Global Terrorism), Napoleoni tackles the whole of capitalism's dark side: the economics of illegal, criminal and terrorist activities worldwide. There's no shortage of material, including the sex trade of Eastern Europe, internet fraud, piracy (both nautical and intellectual), human slavery, drugs and even the subprime mortgage lending scandal. Unsettling, eye-opening statistics abound-one third of all fish eaten in the UK is illegally poached; today, 27 million slaves worldwide generate annual profits of $31 billion; up until 9/11, 80 percent of the $1.5 trillion underworld economy was laundered through the US (the Patriot Act moved much of this business to Europe)-and Napoleoni's bold analysis begs controversy. From page one, she ties the illegal business boom directly to the spread of democracy, pointing to the fall of the Berlin Wall as the moment when "rogue economics" were unleashed in their current, globe-enveloping iteration. Timely and fascinating, Napoleoni's top-notch reporting, in which her attention turns from Viagra to blood diamonds to the banana price wars in a few pages, works in the vein of Freakonomics and Eric Schlosser's Fast Food Nation, but much grimmer. Like those, this volume doesn't provide many answers, but the questions it raises are profound.
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Seven Stories Press
August 31, 2009
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Excerpt from Rogue Economics by Loretta Napoleoni
Loretta Napoleoni's devilishly enjoyable journey into the money veins of the new global order--from sex slavery to fad-diet slavery . . . is truly incredibly original.
Rogue Economics offers a fascinating view of how terribly wrong things have gone.