Informal economies evolve in poorest communities

October 25, 2012

Afternoon Shift

 

Robert Fairbanks is an Assistant Professor at the School of Social Service at the University of Chicago where he teaches courses on urban poverty, the political economy of urban development, and the history and philosophy of the welfare state.

He and Afternoon Shift host Rick Kogan talked about Orlando and the forces he goes up against every day as a resident of a poverty-stricken neighborhood, and member of the "informal (or underground) economy." Fairbanks also talks about the flipside of informal economies that spring up in areas of need: people in these communities provide support for one another, creating their own system of childcare, social work and even hospice services for their neighbors. 

"If there's a demand and a supply, then some sort of market will evolve... If people in Englewood, like Orlando, are systematically excluded--or at least marginalized--from the formal economy, then some sort of shadow economy or some sort of parallel set of social institutions will evolve to meet the neighborhood's needs," Fairbanks said. 

Listen to the rest of the conversation above.