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  1. #1
    Thailand Expat
    robuzo's Avatar
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    Why Black Market Entrepreneurs Matter to the World Economy

    Some of you might find this interesting. Important for Thailand. This phenomenon deserves more study:

    Why Black Market Entrepreneurs Matter to the World Economy | Magazine
    Not many people think of shantytowns, illegal street vendors, and unlicensed roadside hawkers as major economic players. But according to journalist Robert Neuwirth, that’s exactly what they’ve become. In his new book, Stealth of Nations: The Global Rise of the Informal Economy, Neuwirth points out that small, illegal, off-the-books businesses collectively account for trillions of dollars in commerce and employ fully half the world’s workers. Further, he says, these enterprises are critical sources of entrepreneurialism, innovation, and self-reliance. And the globe’s gray and black markets have grown during the international recession, adding jobs, increasing sales, and improving the lives of hundreds of millions. It’s time, Neuwirth says, for the developed world to wake up to what those who are working in the shadows of globalization have to offer. We asked him how these tiny enterprises got to be such big business.

    Wired: You refer to the untaxed, unlicensed, and unregulated economies of the world as System D. What does that mean?

    Robert Neuwirth:There’s a French word for someone who’s self-reliant or ingenious: débrouillard. This got sort of mutated in the postcolonial areas of Africa and the Caribbean to refer to the street economy, which is called l’économie de la débrouillardise—the self-reliance economy, or the DIY economy, if you will. I decided to use this term myself—shortening it to System D—because it’s a less pejorative way of referring to what has traditionally been called the informal economy or black market or even underground economy. I’m basically using the term to refer to all the economic activity that flies under the radar of government. So, unregistered, unregulated, untaxed, but not outright criminal—I don’t include gun-running, drugs, human trafficking, or things like that.

    Wired: Certainly the people who make their living from illegal street stalls don’t see themselves as criminals.

    Neuwirth: Not at all. They see themselves as supporting their family, hiring people, and putting their relatives through school—all without any help from the government or aid networks.

    Wired: The sheer scale of System D is mind-blowing.

    Neuwirth: Yeah. If you think of System D as having a collective GDP, it would be on the order of $10 trillion a year. That’s a very rough calculation, which is almost certainly on the low side. If System D were a country, it would have the second-largest economy on earth, after the United States.

    Wired: And it’s growing?

    Neuwirth: Absolutely.
    [More at the link, including a map in which Thailand and Burma figure prominently. Gives a better idea which countries are Thailand's true soulmates, so to speak.]
    “You can lead a horticulture but you can’t make her think.” Dorothy Parker

  2. #2
    Thailand Expat
    sabang's Avatar
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    04-09-2019 @ 05:06 AM
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    Chungking Mansions might just be the nearest thing to world HQ of the informal, globalised economy- and finally someone has written a book about it.

    CHUNGKING Mansions, a down-at-heel complex of shops, guesthouses and restaurants in the heart of Hong Kong’s Tsim Sha Tsui district, is arguably the most infamous building in this 24/7 city. A second home to traders from across the developing world, it is a bustling zone of informal commerce. DVDs, appliances, garments, precious metals, medicines, books, mobile phones – almost anything can be bought here, off the books and in wholesale quantities. Entrepreneurs from across Africa, South Asia and the Middle East come to make their fortune, returning home with suitcases full of gadgets and gear.

    Globalisation at ground level | Inside Story
    probes Aliens

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