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Inside the Trillion-Dollar Underground Economy Keeping Many Americans (Barely) Afloat in Desperate T

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posted on Sep, 22 2011 @ 10:57 AM

Inside the Trillion-Dollar Underground Economy Keeping Many Americans (Barely) Afloat in Desperate Times

The United States continues to suffer from mass unemployment. People have had to adjust their lifestyles to the new reality—fewer jobs, lower wages, mortgages to pay that are now more than their homes are worth. Millions have dropped out of the job hunt and are trying to find other ways to sustain their families.

That's where the underground economy comes in. Also called the shadow or informal economy, it's not just illegal activity like selling drugs or doing sex work. It's all sorts of work that doesn't get regulated by the government or reported to the IRS, and it's a far bigger p
(visit the link for the full news article)

posted on Sep, 22 2011 @ 10:57 AM
I happen to know a great many people that have been in the underground economy for over a decade since the economy began to crumble and the wars began and the police state began to accelerate.

The state has grown more violent and money hungry in this last decade. Some people morally just can not allow their will which is what our money is basically our will used for violence against others that has committed no acts of aggression against them.

When they see a story of a wedding in Afghanistan where dozens of people are in attendance are smart bombed because some informer told the Americans there was a Taliban leader attending it makes them not want to support that kind of destruction of innocent lives. They quit their tax paying job and instead make their living under the radar. Others of course are just criminals but the number of conscientious objectors getting off the tax rolls is growing.
(visit the link for the full news article)

posted on Sep, 22 2011 @ 11:11 AM
reply to post by wayouttheredude

This is exciting news. To think people are outsmarting the Nazi style gangster actions of the gov is very warming to my soul. Note this is new to my memory bank therefore I have some new options to search into.

posted on Sep, 22 2011 @ 11:15 AM
I still go into business and ask if i pay cash will they knock a few quid off.

This is because I know business only declare what they have to over here and I agree. If you havent begun to do it start.

posted on Sep, 22 2011 @ 11:19 AM
reply to post by michaelmcclen

I do the same over here. Also if I am at a business dinner and paying with my card I pay the tip in cash. I know that wait staff are paid far less than minimum wage and then they have to split their tip jar with the government. It makes me sick that the lowest wage workers have to split their meager earnings with big brother. At least when I pay them in cash perhaps they can under report some of it. That way they are able to feed their kids and pay their car insurance.

posted on Sep, 22 2011 @ 11:23 AM
Interesting article, thanks for posting it (f/s). Your statement that people are doing this out of moral reasoning (that is, not wanting to be part of a system that injures others), though, is quite different from the point made by the author.

The article says people are earning money in lots of ways -- from babysitting to having yard sales and doing off-the-books jobs for their families and friends (like when your cousin is a plumber and he comes over to help with the leaky kitchen sink in exchange for a beer and a burger).

Personally, I think the "informal" economy is preferable in many ways; people are not beholden to give a large portion of their earnings to the government. Nevertheless, it was sobering to be reminded that "unreported income", which is of course not taxed, lowers the revenue of the government and exacerbates "national debt".

What is the answer? I am leaning toward the idea that the US of A will break apart. I think a return to small, self-sustaining communities, in which services are provided by citizens and they are paid "in kind" ("I'll give you a massage for 2 geese," for example, or, "I'll pave Main Street for a year's worth of beer"). The jobs would get done, the services would be available, and no "overseeing entity" is needed. But that's old Utopian idealism. Yeah, I'm guilty of being idealistic, altruistic, and supportive of the simple life.

It's not a new movement. It exists in small towns and cities alike. I say that's how society should be. And anyone who tries to "join in" and later proves to be a greedy, lying, corrupt thug gets shunned. Forever. By everyone.
Period. No longer welcome in any community, anywhere.

posted on Sep, 22 2011 @ 11:34 AM
reply to post by wildtimes

I read the article and no it does not mention the reasons that I included. That was my personal contribution to the conversation. It is a factor that was not specifically mentioned but one I know about and have discussed with friends of mine I have known for many years.

The barter community has been growing quietly for a long time. I got a carpentry job done for a wood stove that I found on craigslist for free for the taking. I have also had work done on one of my trucks for a keg of homebrew. A friend of mine who is a glass blower traded a piece of his glass work for a bunch of heirloom seeds. We made some salsa from the product of those seeds and traded some for a used table saw.

I would say just with the people I know which is not a big number over the last decade we have had perhaps $150K in informal economic activity between us. Not a big number spread out over a decade but my little personal network is pretty small. I think this is due to the increase in communication between people that the information age has brought us. Government as an organizing principle is on its last days I think. People can self organize with far greater efficiency than any kind of central planning.

posted on Sep, 22 2011 @ 11:36 AM
Just like in North Korea! And all the communist countries had... big big big underground economies, the only way to stay alive.

We're getting there...

And as a plus, that means less money for the bastards in Washington DC to give themselves and their buddies.
edit on 22-9-2011 by Vitchilo because: (no reason given)

posted on Sep, 22 2011 @ 11:38 AM
Sometimes, even if you already have a job, you still have to resort to using the underground economy.

Though in my case, it's more like selling possessions to help pay the bills.

posted on Sep, 22 2011 @ 11:41 AM
There are even unlicensed doctors and dentists operating all over the place. A lot seem to be Eastern European illegals, though the ones I know of all have degrees and some have practiced for years in their own country.Nonetheless the whole thing is a little scary.

The thing about this shadow economy is that it's very much resource based ,which is why it exists and why it will only get stronger as the failings of the official world economy become more and more evident.

Things like farmers markets and microcurrencies are popping up everywhere.Re-use exchange sites are enabling people to trade used goods or buy them, cutting out middlemen.

As I write this the DOW is DOWn 400 points, and just about every index is on the slide. The finance world is playing musical chairs and there aren't too many chairs left. Even gold is is on the slide.Where's everyone putting their money right now if everyone is selling out?

If the whole #house goes up in flames which looks increasingly likely, it will be very interesting to see how things develop after the dust settles.

Compared to the great depression era,the world in general is far better connected and has superior and farther reaching infrastructure, to provide a backbone for the shadow economies of the world to operate freely on. We could possibly have a much purer system of economics rise up.It would however quickly become coruppted unless there were rigidly enforced laws against usuary,private insurance, central banking,futures markets, put options etc.

Whatever happens will be pretty radical, for better or for worse. Something has got to give. Its like a game of Buckaroo.

posted on Sep, 22 2011 @ 11:43 AM
reply to post by wayouttheredude

Capitalism at it best.
Love seeing this.

Great find.

posted on Sep, 22 2011 @ 11:56 AM
I am a bouncer part time. I know there are a lot of gentlements clubs, clubs, bars, strip clubs, nights clubs etc that employee bouncers and that is all under the table work.

posted on Sep, 22 2011 @ 11:58 AM
Im constantly working to remove myself from the system, giving them less money by thinking outside the box, Craigslist is a good place to batter services sometimes.

I traded an old phone for some minor car work I needed, I found a mechanic and asked him if he would take goods for trade.

You would be surprised how willing people are to do this.

posted on Sep, 22 2011 @ 12:00 PM
reply to post by wayouttheredude

The family of an ex of mine really opened my eyes to the underground economy. They own a truck and trailer and helped a lot of people move. Payment was often in "Eh, I don't really want that, but if you all want it..." - they came up with some crazy stuff, and made some decent money off of scrapping (above-ground pools are some pretty big-ticket items, and many people are looking to get out from under them due to increased insurance premiums and the cost/time of maintaining them).

As I have gotten out on my own and followed my room mates, we have moved into a trailer park where rent is cheap and the utilities are much cheaper outside of city limits (I am not looking forward to winter, however - entropy is super-effective against wiry builds like me). I have begun to see more of the 'underground' economy in the surrounding area. Tenants perform work on the property in exchange for lowered rent (or even payment, depending upon what service it is).

However, I think you severely overstate any ethical reasons for it, or even the political. Most of the people involved in the 'underground economy' couldn't even give you an opinion on the government economic policy simply because they don't entertain those topics. It is merely a way of survival - a "path of least resistance." With the market collapse has come a lack of employment and the current market regulation severely restricts entrepreneurial efforts - leaving little option for many aside from 'underground' exchanges of goods and services to survive.

I see it as a testament to human resourcefulness and fortitude. Even if the government does its damnedest to destroy the official economy - 'underground' economies will expand and evolve to compensate. The economy is merely a byproduct of human social interactions and provisions for common needs. It will take far more than lolbama to ruin that... but getting a competent president in office and giving Congress a dose of integrity would go a long way to improve things.

posted on Sep, 22 2011 @ 12:09 PM
Not only at its best, but the purest form of it too!
Person to person.....
It is when the corporations became entities of their own that the system became perverted so badly....After that the real money has been siphoned out of the system perpetually ever since.
We have a word for this unofficial bartering in Canada, we call it the" Grey economy."and it a significant proportion here too.....
The retreat from the way the world has gone, by those who are morally repugnated,is very much a part of this grey economy i believe also....
I find that i am one of those who has stepped back from active capitalistic struggle within the system.....
I do what i must to survive , but certainly look for opportunity to stay out of the food chain of the psychos who rule the planet.

posted on Sep, 22 2011 @ 12:13 PM
Great Thread and yep going under is an answer..until NOBODY has cash. Big underground economy in Denmark I am told. Cars are bartered as big money items

posted on Sep, 22 2011 @ 02:21 PM
reply to post by Aim64C

It is sort of heart warming to hear a post like yours, You understand, and in a way I thought I did too. Ive been in the underground economy for a LOONNNGGG time, I barter services, or items for others, and it really has worked great, but the longer I do it the more I notice that the people I deal with are changing. At first it was folks who just liked the idea, and more recently its folks who need the money to pay bills, or cant afford the services any other way so they trade something for it.
And even more so now, its folks who dont want thier income on the record anywhere. gotta be honest, I have a day job, but ALOT of my income is via the underground economy, and most of those profits are items, not cash.

posted on Sep, 22 2011 @ 10:43 PM
I was considering doing my Motorbicycle hobby on this basis. I want to build them and trade them for tools or cash to buy tools to build more bicycles.

It seemed like the best way for me to get people mobile without the blood-sucking government showing up demanding their half of the pie.

I still have a job that I am disgusted with. I only stay to help my crew whom I have the utmost respect for, but hope to wash my hands of all the corporatist retardation someday.

An inspirational post there.

posted on Sep, 23 2011 @ 12:29 PM
Are sperm donations reported.
Red heads are too eager to donate and can't give it away free now.
That had to be an under the table network.
The government will start printing money to end the money contraction by
AIG bail outs and the money masters and start free energy plans too I hope.

posted on Sep, 23 2011 @ 10:28 PM
reply to post by TeslaandLyne

Thanks for the thread bump but reading your post I am like WTF? I am guessing drunk driving on the information superhighway.

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