Why Black Markets Thrive in Developing Countries

Faced with the prospect of long journeys to the city, which costs transportation fees and commuting time, it is no wonder why many capable workers prefer to remain in their villages with their families.

Why Black Markets Thrive in Developing Countries

What's the Latest Development?


Countries transitioning from small, family-based business to larger, more efficient urban centers of production are finding it difficult to bring many workers into the fold. Faced with the prospect of long journeys to the city, which costs transportation fees and commuting time, it is no wonder why many capable workers prefer to remain in their villages with their families. "Daily commute times for low-income formal-sector workers often exceed three hours, and the average direct cost of transportation is equivalent to roughly two hours of work at the minimum wage. An eight-hour shift becomes an 11-hour shift for which net pay is only six hours." Transportation woes amount to a 45 percent tax on low-income formal sector workers. 

What's the Big Idea?

A fundamental principle behind developing a modern economy is the creation of a space where talents can cross pollinate. Imagine all the diverse skills required to produce and distribute a feature film, or build and sell cars. These kinds of skill pools are unavailable in local economies where education opportunities are fewer and smaller populations work against a diversity of talent. Governments' incentive to create urban work centers, of course, is tax dollars, which are difficult to collect from informal economies. When developing economies, therefore, governments must be sensitive to the life styles of their workers and make plans for their families.

Photo credit: Shutterstock.com

Read it at Project Syndicate

Archaeologists discover 3,200-year-old cheese in ancient Egyptian tomb

A team of archaeologists has discovered 3,200-year-old cheese after analyzing artifacts found in an ancient Egyptian tomb. It could be the oldest known cheese sample in the world.

The broken jar in which the white mass of cheese was found. (Photo: University of Catania and Cairo University)
Culture & Religion

Keep reading Show less

Modern society is as unequal as 14th century Europe

As bad as this sounds, a new essay suggests that we live in a surprisingly egalitarian age.

"Philosophy Presenting the Seven Liberal Arts to Boethius"

Getty Open Content
Politics & Current Affairs
  • A new essay depicts 700 years of economic inequality in Europe.
  • The only stretch of time more egalitarian than today was the period between 1350 to approximately the year 1700.
  • Data suggest that, without intervention, inequality does not decrease on its own.
Keep reading Show less

You are suffering from “tab overload”

Our love-hate relationship with browser tabs drives all of us crazy. There is a solution.

Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels
Technology & Innovation
  • A new study suggests that tabs can cause people to be flustered as they try to keep track of every website.
  • The reason is that tabs are unable to properly organize information.
  • The researchers are plugging a browser extension that aims to fix the problem.
Keep reading Show less
Personal Growth

Epicurus and the atheist's guide to happiness

Seek pleasure and avoid pain. Why make it more complicated?

Quantcast