System “D”

Journalist Robert Neuwirth just did a really interesting TED Talk about the informal economy, or the black market, or the DIY economy or however you want to name it. Neuwirth calls it “Système D,” a French term that refers to the ability to think fast and adapt. According to Neuwirth two-thirds of the world’s workforce lives and works within System D. As a freelancer, peddling my skills for whatever I can, I wonder how much of my day-to-day is a version of System D.

“The United Street Sellers Republic — the USSR — [would be] the second-largest economy in the world after the United States,” says Neuwirth in his talk. He spent four years researching this other global marketplace and wrote a very interesting book, “Stealth of Nations.” Part of his research took him to Guangzhou, China and into Little Africa.

Check out his talk. It’s well worth a listen.


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