This book is the third in a series on the social and economic dynamics of class conflict in America. The fourth is planned to be a more technical sociology of heroin use and the heroin trade and will analyze data collected in New York from 1973 to 1975.
Practical limitations have made it impossible to bring these books together in one. Both focus on labor markets and labor-market stratification as the underlying dynamics of class organization and class conflict. But whereas the present book emphasizes the relationships between broad changes in market conditions and changes in public policy on drugs, the subsequent one will develop a theory of labor-market stratification to explain changes in the pattern of drug use itself. This extends the topic to cover working-class crime in general, which has been undergoing major structural changes in the past four or five years,* and to deal also with mental disorder and suicide in the same social context.
Work on this book was materially supported by the Drug Abuse Council in Washington, D.C., which commissioned me to undertake a broad study of sociological and psychological theories of drug use. It is a pleasure to acknowledge the generosity and expert advice provided by the council, through Thomas E. Bryant, president, and James V. DeLong, director, though this should not be taken to mean that the interpretations and conclusions in this book in any way represent the council or its approval. They are my own.
For great personal support I am indebted first of all to Norman Zinberg, and then to my colleagues at the Research Center for Economic Planning, particularly Thomas Vietorisz.
Joann Platt and Marjorie Harrison worked to produce the manuscript.
Finally, there are friends, all lost, some taken away, who helped teach me the spirit—Jerry Berndt; Nicolas Boulte; Ron Freda; Jimmie Longwood, of the S.S. Cleveland on the Yokohama–Hong Kong run.
*For example, Francis A. J. Ianni, Black Mafia, Ethnic Succession in Organized Crime, New York: Simon & Schuster, 1974.