After years of relegation to the back of policy makers' minds, today the underground economy is the last final refuge from the financial crisis. As the Wall Street Journal's Patrick Barta wrote this weekend, makeshift markets, temporary labor, and small homegrown businesses are absorbing countless laborers in the developing and developed worlds as their jobs in manufacturing, construction, and services disappear. The black market might be the only one not in the red this year.
"US Torture: Voices from the Black Sites." In this story for New York Review of Books Mark Danner reveals the contents of the confidential document -- specifically the Red Cross's interviews of 14 "high value" detainees while they awaited trial in Guantánamo, all of whom were held in the C.I.A.'s detention program. The details are explicit. (You can also read the excerpted version that ran in Sunday's op-ed section of The New York Times.)
"Wall Street on the Tundra" in the April issue of Vanity Fair. Michael Lewis gives the Liar's Poker treatment to the economic collapse of Iceland, a place that one IMF official told him "is no longer a country. It is a hedge fund."
From the Buddhist Temple of Kaiyuan in Quanzhou, to The Warehouse in Shanghai, to the back roads of Xinjiang, Joe Bennett is on any anything-but-brief quest to discover where his boxers originate. The vision behind his book, Where Underpants Come From, began when this intrepid travel writer flipped over the label on his trousers and wondered, "Made where in China?"Brennan Linsley-Pool/Getty Image