Schattenwirtschaft: Die Macht der illegalen Märkte (Shadow markets: The might of illegal markets)

8 Jul 2019 - 13:00

 Matias Dewey, Nina Engwicht and Annette Hubschle are co-authors of this forthcoming book. Annette is a postdoctoral fellow and senior researcher at the GRG .

Counterfeit commodities and sweatshops in Argentina, diamonds in Sierra Leone and rhinoceros horn in southern Africa were the research themes of Matias Dewey, Nina Engwicht and Annette Hübschle. As part of their program of research on illegal markets at the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies, the researchers conducted hundreds of interviews with workers, producers, investigators, and politicians. They analyze everyday business happenings on in these clandestine markets. Creative business entrepreneurs and unscrupulous criminals carry out illegal market activities that are often characterized by exploitation, endemic poverty of the many and ostentatious wealth of the few.

Illegal market participants act in a surprisingly peaceful and creative manner, which facilitates business in an environment devoid of legal protection. In spite of hardcore competition, they cooperate frequently, create their own social norms, credit facilities and emergency funds. Beyond the emergence of shadow markets, new social and political systems have arisen. In some cases, the general public benefits from illegal markets, especially in cases where the local economy gets a windfall. Caspar Dohmen, a business journalist, provides a bridge to general working conditions in the 21st century, which have been marked by fluid interfaces between illegality and legality.