The informal economy comprises half to three-quarters of all non-agricultural employment in the developing countries, Roberto Bissio, coordinator of the Social Watch international secretariat in an article on “Past and future of informal workers” published by the Arab NGO Network for Development as part of its report on informality in the Arab region.

The study combats the notion that informality in developing countries is associated with “traditional” or “backward” sectors in the economy, and exposes as contributors to present-day informality the pressure to reduce the state and its control by international financial institutions like the World Bank, the benefits obtained by multinational corporations from cheaper labour and flexibility in workers’ contracts and the “uberification” of the economy through online outsourcing of small pieces of work. Paradoxically, when there is political work, those same technologies can make formalization and provision of basic social security easier and more efficient.

Informal jobs reduce the social tensions of unemployment, but without paying taxes or contributing to social security, which postpones problems to a later time, when the informal workers of today won›t be able to work and will lack proper health care or any pension. On the other hand, informality contributes through bribes to compensate the low incomes of public officials and local police and in doing so generates forces of silent resistance to changes in the status quo.

Read the publication here.

Source: Arab NGO Network for Development (ANND).