Monday, April 22, 2013

Money Wisdom #117

"The popularity of the label "informal" [economy] may derive from its being negative. It says what people are not doing - not wearing conventional dress, not being regulated by the state - but it does not point to any active principles they may have for doing it. In this sense it is a passive and conservative concept that acknowledges a world outside the bureaucracy, but endows it with no positive identity. The informal sector allowed academics and bureaucrats to incorporate the teeming street life of exotic cities into their models without having to confront the specificity of what the people were really up to. In sacrificing my own ethnographic encounter with real persons to the generalizing jargon of development economics, I played my own part in this process of rationalization and cover-up."

Keith Hart Money in an Unequal World (2000) p.156

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