A recent article titled The Rise of the Underground by Patrick Barta in the Wall Street Journal, examines how the informal economy in India (and other developing markets) is providing an important alternative form of income for workers laid off from jobs connected to the global economy. Without an informal economy, many of them would be destitute as there is very little social safety net in these countries.
I was in India’s Assam region earlier this month and once again saw the power of microfinance to empower women with working capital to expand their micro businesses. I was able to interview a number of the women in this picture about how their businesses were going and what they were doing with their profits. The #1 priority they told me was to ensure their children were able to go to school.