Chances are, you know one of the shadow economy’s participants, whether or not you number among the working poor. Your neighbor’s cleaning lady, for instance, may not get a W-2. Maybe you’ve purchased a roll of samizdat Hannah Montana stickers at a flea market, or a handmade Sponge Bob piñata at a (likely not-City-licensed) yard sale. Or consider the Wild West marketplace of Internet commerce, whose convoluted backways are signposted by Nigerian scam emails addressing you as Beloved. Or perhaps you’ve paid cash for sex, or drugs, or have been, yourself, paid with one or the other.
And maybe you wonder how the financial practices of the poor and/or creative are affected by Great Depression 2.0. Are there economic sectors which, to paraphrase Tony Soprano, are so clandestine, or so compulsive to the flawed human animal, as to be recession-proof?