Stealth of Nations The Global Rise of the Informal Economy
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Thousands of Africans head to China each year to buy cell phones, auto parts, and other products that they will import to their home countries through a clandestine global back-channel. Hundreds of Paraguayan merchants smuggle computers, electronics, and clothing across the border to Brazil. Dozens of laid-off San Franciscans, working without any licenses, use Twitter to sell home-cooked foods. Scores of major multinationals sell products through unregistered kiosks and street vendors around the world. When we think of the informal economy, we tend to think of crime: prostitution, drugs, pirated DVDs. In Stealth of Nations, Robert Neuwirth opens up this underground realm, explaining that the worldwide informal economy deals mostly in legal products and is, in fact, a $10 trillion industry, making it the second-largest economy in the world, after that of the United States. Having penetrated a closed world and persuaded its inhabitants to open up to him, Neuwirth makes clear that this informal method of transaction dates back as far as humans have existed and traded; that it provides essential services and crucial employment that fill the gaps in formal systems; and that this unregulated market works like a well-oiled machine with its own codes and unwritten rules. Combining a vivid travelogue with a firm grasp of global economic strategy-along with a healthy dose of irreverence and skepticism toward the conventional-Neuwirth gives us an eye-opening account of a world that is always operating around us, hidden in plain sight.
List price: $25.95
Copyright year: 2011
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date: 10/18/2011
Size: 6.00" wide x 9.00" long x 1.50" tall
|The Global Rummage Sale|
|Grade A, Plan B, Middle C, System D, Vitamin E|
|The Global Back Channel|
|The Culture of the Copy|
|Can Anybody Tell Me How to Get to the Bridge?|
|The Upside of Down the Trade|
|Once Upon a Time in the West|
|The Honest Con Men|
|Why Not Formalize the Informal?|
|Freedom to Trade|
|My Stealth Family|