Who’s Afraid of the Informal Economy
On March 28, the SAIS Foreign Policy Institute (FPI) and The SAIS Review of International Affairs welcomed writer and investigative reporter Robert Neuwirth, who shared his acclaimed work on the value of informal economies with SAIS students and faculty. His work highlights the topic of the SAIS Review’s upcoming issue on black markets and shadow economies, due for release in June 2013.
In his latest book, Stealth of Nations, Neuwirth challenges conceptions of unregulated urban development by suggesting that informal economies must be acknowledged and incorporated into any inclusive and equitable development strategy. His first book, Shadow Cities, argued that shantytowns are legitimate urban neighborhoods, and that governments need to stop evictions and instead engage with squatters.
Neuwirth’s work has been supported by the MacArthur Foundation and the Fund for Investigative Journalism and has been featured inWired, the New York Times, and other publications, as well as on National Public Radio. In addition to writing and reporting, Neuwirth has taught in the college program at Rikers Island, New York City’s jail, and at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism.