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3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (75 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Robert Neuwirth Narrator: Kevin Foley Publisher: Tantor Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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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 and persuaded its inhabitants to open up to him, 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 with a 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 always operating around us, hidden in plain sight.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “A vibrant picture of a growing sphere of trade that already employs half the workers of the world.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • Stealth of Nations is the most exciting shopping trip I’ve ever been on. I thought I knew what ‘the economy’ is, but I had no idea until Neuwirth filled me in.”

    Barbara Ehrenreich, author of Nickel and Dimed

  • “We are just beginning to understand that today’s advanced global economy rises along with a proliferation of informal economies. Nobody can document this better than the world-traveling journalist Robert Neuwirth. This is a must-read book.”

    Saskia Sassen, author of A Sociology of Globalization

  • “After reading this book you will realize that working in an office, a shop, or in a factory, earning a steady salary, paying taxes and having health insurance and a retirement account is an anomaly. Most of the world’s workers operate in the informal sector and in this fascinating book Robert Neuwirth reveals how the Stealth Economy works and what does it take to survive in it.”

    Moisés Naím, author of Illicit: How Smugglers, Traffickers, and Copycats are Hijacking the Global Economy

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Donald Parker | 7/12/2013

    " Fascinating book about "system D" , an entire level of economics that most of us didn't know existed. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Cordelia | 2/15/2013

    " This is an interesting look at some economic activity in the developing world and even the US. For all of you that love to watch the hive of activity on the busy streets of a developing world city, this will be familiar and add some perspective. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Madeeha Maqbool | 10/16/2012

    " After all the trouble I went through to get this book, I'm glad (for its sake) that it was totally worth it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Catherine Soto | 6/24/2012

    " Loved it. An informal but very good look at an important but overlooked part of the worls economy. "

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About the Author

Robert Neuwirth is the author of Shadow Cities: A Billion Squatters, a New Urban World. He has received a research and writing grant from the John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, appears nationally and internationally as a speaker and on radio, and has written for the New York Times, the Washington Post, Dwell, Fortune, The Nation, and Wired, among many other publications. He lives in Brooklyn.