Rogue Economics: Capitalism's New Reality

Loretta Napoleoni, Author Seven Stories Press $24.95 (307p) ISBN 978-1-58322-824-1
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.
Reviewed on: 03/31/2008
Release date: 04/01/2008
Paperback - 307 pages - 978-1-58322-882-1
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