The Informal Economy

Wednesday September 26, 2012 Written by luke

Talk to most people and they'll tell you that China is the second largest economy on Earth. True in some senses, but if you were to pool together the 1.8 billion people who do business off the grid – service economies, black markets and streetside vendors – you end up with an untapped, difficult-to-track economic powerhouse that could be worth more than $10 trillion per year.

It's called the informal economy (or System D) and it's one of the true emergent forces of the 21st century. In this talk the journalist Robert Neuwirth talks about the four years he spent amongst the chaotic markets of the developing world encountering the phenomenon first-hand and what he discovered about how the developed world exploits and even relies on this phenomenon for its own benefit.