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Freakonomics: Shadow Economy Is Second Largest in The World

Shadow Economy

First Posted: 11/07/11 03:25 PM ET Updated: 11/07/11 03:25 PM ET

By Freakonomics:

In 2009, the OECD concluded that half the world's workers (almost 1.8 billion people) were employed in the shadow economy. By 2020, the OECD predicts the shadow economy will employ two-thirds of the world's workers. This new economy even has a name: "System D."

In a new article (accompanying photoessay here) for Foreign Policy, Robert Neuwirth explains:

System D is a slang phrase pirated from French-speaking Africa and the Caribbean. The French have a word that they often use to describe particularly effective and motivated people. They call them debrouillards. To say a man is a debrouillard is to tell people how resourceful and ingenious he is. The former French colonies have sculpted this word to their own social and economic reality.

Read the entire post here, or more Freakonomics content below:

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Filed by Jillian Berman  |