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The Global GrapevineWhy Rumors of Terrorism, Immigration, and Trade Matter$
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Gary Alan Fine and Bill Ellis

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199736317

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199736317.001.0001

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The Menace of International Trade

The Menace of International Trade

(p.147) 6 The Menace of International Trade
The Global Grapevine

Gary Alan Fine (Contributor Webpage)

Bill Ellis (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

Increasingly, Americans consume goods produced in the third world rather than locally, undermining the sense of control that our society once held. As this economic shift filters down to the general population, warnings emerge through rumor that describe physical dangers hidden within imported goods: snakes inside blankets or coats, spiders among fruit, scorpions in yucca plants, even deadly bacteria on banana peels. Such stories suggest that exotic third‐world problems may soon become our own. A second theme is the fear that we contribute to our economic decline by purchasing imported products that compete with American goods, reflected in the rumor that Mexican workers urinate in Corona beer. Fear of physical contamination may symbolize fear of competition, suggesting that we come to terms with abstract economic issues by dramatizing them in the form of rumors.

Keywords:   trade, Mexico, mercantile rumors, imports, bananas, spiders, beer, snakes, urine

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