Saturday, September 08, 2012

TED Talk: The Power of the $10 Trillion per Year Informal Economy, World's 2nd Largest Economy


TED Talk -- Robert Neuwirth spent four years among the chaotic stalls of street markets, talking to pushcart hawkers and gray marketers, to study the remarkable "System D," the world's unlicensed economic network. Responsible for some 1.8 billion jobs, it's an economy of underappreciated power and scope.

Conclusion: "This economy is a tremendous force for global development and we need to think about it that way."

16 Comments:

At 9/08/2012 10:25 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

I agree that the unregulated economy is a tremendous force for global development. Sadly, too many on the left (and the right) can't bring themselves to think of it in that way.

 
At 9/09/2012 12:26 AM, Blogger Ron H. said...

V:

"I agree that the unregulated economy is a tremendous force for global development. Sadly, too many on the left (and the right) can't bring themselves to think of it in that way."

But, but, people will be harmed! They will get cheated. They will get sick and die. Nothing that spontaneous can possibly work. There must be REGULATION and central planning.

 
At 9/09/2012 7:12 AM, Blogger sethstorm said...

The problem is that this "untrackable" economy exists. The less of this that exists, versus the the amount in the well-documented economy, the better.

It is a subsistence economy, not a prosperity economy that goes by the rules and does well for itself.

 
At 9/09/2012 8:44 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

The problem is that this "untrackable" economy exists. The less of this that exists, versus the the amount in the well-documented economy, the better.

As usual you miss the point. The economy exists because it is not regulated. If regulations were in place most of the jobs would disappear and people would be much poorer. Somehow it has escaped your notice that central planning is discredited.

It is a subsistence economy, not a prosperity economy that goes by the rules and does well for itself.

Yes, it is a subsistence economy. A massive economy that allows people to live and work under a set of rules that have been created without top down planners and allow transactions to take place most efficiently without giving a cut to kleptocrats.

 
At 9/09/2012 12:26 PM, Blogger sethstorm said...


The economy exists because it is not regulated. If regulations were in place most of the jobs would disappear and people would be much poorer.

Those jobs wouldn't disappear (and people would certainly not be poorer) if the the untracked became tracked. It would only mean that light would shine in very uncomfortable places that depend on the lack of disclosure.



Yes, it is a subsistence economy. A massive...

Unlike those subsistence economies, people in well-documented economies don't have to live in gated communities.

 
At 9/09/2012 1:04 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"Unlike those subsistence economies, people in well-documented economies don't have to live in gated communities"

Gee, I wonder why they do it then.

 
At 9/09/2012 1:06 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"Somehow it has escaped your notice that central planning is discredited. "

It hasn't occurred to sethstorm that it is central planning that keeps him from getting the job he thinks is owed to him.

 
At 9/10/2012 1:29 AM, Blogger Ian Random said...

Actually, it is a sign of a problem. It indicates that they can't scale up since they would succumb to crushing costs in those economies and cease to exist.

 
At 9/10/2012 12:19 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

Actually, it is a sign of a problem. It indicates that they can't scale up since they would succumb to crushing costs in those economies and cease to exist.

I don't believe this is true. Scaling up does not happen because of financial costs but for political reasons. It is avoided because many business owners refuse to become big targets of kleptocrats in the government and calculate that they are better off paying small fines than having their business confiscated by the authorities.

 
At 9/10/2012 1:07 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

Those jobs wouldn't disappear (and people would certainly not be poorer) if the the untracked became tracked.

Sure they would. The more light there is on the profit that is being made the more that the central planners would step in to take their cut. This is why the underground economy stays from view.

It would only mean that light would shine in very uncomfortable places that depend on the lack of disclosure.

In a tyranny where government uses force to tax people heavily you get a lot of undisclosed economic activity. For a good example you do not need to look at the underdeveloped world but at the EU. When the Euro was being implemented the renovation industry boomed because hidden earnings that had not already been converted to assets had to be spent. Prices exploded only to collapse after the implementation of the currency as work levels dropped off sharply.

 
At 9/10/2012 1:07 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

Unlike those subsistence economies, people in well-documented economies don't have to live in gated communities.

But they do.

 
At 9/10/2012 1:08 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

It hasn't occurred to sethstorm that it is central planning that keeps him from getting the job he thinks is owed to him.

Perhaps he likes mom's basement.

 
At 9/10/2012 7:39 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"Perhaps he likes mom's basement. "

He must. Incidentally, he's been very busy writing comments here lately so I advised him to go upstairs to check with his mother whether he was approaching the limits on her data plan.

If he goes over she might take away his internet privileges until he paid for the extra charges. As a permanent unemployable, that might mean we would never again get to read his hilarious drivel.

I, for one, would miss the comic relief.

 
At 9/11/2012 10:58 AM, Blogger sethstorm said...


But they do.

The key is that well-documented economies don't require such fiefdoms - such as the United States. If one wishes to not live in a gated community, the option is there for the greater part of the population - including the wealthy.

On the other hand, one can pick a country in the NATO-defined Third World and look at how many of them require it for anything more than a shanty.

While you may be fine with screwing over an economy by the lack of documentation, it has a way of always returning the favor.

 
At 9/12/2012 9:27 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

The key is that well-documented economies don't require such fiefdoms - such as the United States. If one wishes to not live in a gated community, the option is there for the greater part of the population - including the wealthy.

From what I see there are many very selective communities in the US. They do not need gates and high walls to prohibit outsiders. They select by having very high priced homes and a local police that does not take kindly to strangers who do not belong in the neighbourhood.

While you may be fine with screwing over an economy by the lack of documentation, it has a way of always returning the favor.

Screwing over an economy? An economy can't be screwed over. It is not a person.

 
At 9/13/2012 3:53 AM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"Screwing over an economy? An economy can't be screwed over. It is not a person. "

But be careful, I hear it will return the favor - person or not.

 

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