The Stealth of Nations: The Global Rise of the Informal Economy by Robert Neuwirth delves into an area where formal economics seldom ventures: the so-called shadow economy which works behind the scenes in most nations, but particularly in the developing world.
The chapters on Nigeria are particularly instructive, since the entire nation is built on this informal economy (which Neuwirth calls System D). Without a fully functioning government, infrastructure, power grid, or legal system, Nigerians have found ways to make a living despite these formidable obstacles.
Neuwrith believes that nearly half the workers of the world labor under System D, and System D is now tied with the legitimate economy in ways that are nearly impossible to eradicate. At the conclusion of the book, he offers suggestions on how to make System D enterprises more firmly a part of the above board economy.
Neuwirth weaves individual stories of people involved in Systems D with wider issues with great dexterity. This book gives a fascinating glimpse into a world most of us never see, yet rely heavily upon.