Stealth of Nations: The Global Rise of the Informal Economy

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When we think of the informal economy, we tend to think of crime: prostitution, gun running, drug trafficking. Stealth of Nations opens up this underground realm, showing how the worldwide informal economy deals mostly in legal products and is, in fact, a ten-trillion-dollar industry, making it the second-largest economy in the world, after that of the United States. Having penetrated this closed world, Robert 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 smoothly and effectively, with its own codes and unwritten rules. Combining a vivid travelogue witha firm grasp on global economic strategy--along with a healthy dose of irreverence and skepticism toward conventional perceptions--Neuwirth gives us an eye-opening account of a world that is operating all around us, hidden in plain sight.--From publisherdescription.