In most major cities in the world, there is an active and highly profitable shadow economy in phony consumer goods that generates (in some estimates) upwards of 500 billion dollars a year. If you have ever been down to “Counterfeit Alley” in midtown Manhattan, you have seen one of the biggest counterfeit marketplaces in the world. While many of us spend our waking hours lusting after the latest fashion designs from our favorite designers, there are a lot of people out there who purchase knock-off or phony items without fully appreciating the consequences.
I recently read a book called “Knockoff”, written by a fellow named Tim Phillips. It was an insightful read, with a number of interesting and often disturbing ideas presented. I was particularly interested in the section he devoted to the trade in phony luxury items such as designer handbags. These days, it seems I can’t go anywhere without seeing somebody carrying a fake Prada or Gucci purse. Personally, I have always resisted the urge to purchase a counterfeit purse. I have avoided the temptation mainly because such an action only undermines an industry I have grown to love. When one considers the price of some of the higher-end purses, it should come as no surprise that some people purchase fakes.
What will surprise you is the discovery that their money is supporting future terrorist attacks in America and abroad. This book has confirmed my belief in supporting legitimate companies. Have you ever stopped to consider where the money you spend on fake consumer products ends up? This book will provide you with some frightening insights. The “black market” in counterfeit consumer goods provides incredible resources for criminal organizations, and these organizations certainly do not have the public interest at heart.
One of the most disturbing ideas in the book was the suggestion that terrorist organizations, working with organized crime groups, use the profits gained from these illegal sales to support future attacks. I could not sleep at night if I thought I was supporting terrorist campaigns to maim and kill innocent civilians in America, or anywhere else for that matter. I am a firm believer in being a conscientious shopper, and supporting companies that are trying to make the world a better place. I will gladly pay three times the price of a phony purse, to ensure that my money is not supporting terrorism. Check out “Knockoff” when you have a chance. It is a real eye-opener.