The first new nuclear weapons manufacturing facility in the United States in
decades is under construction in Kansas City in .
held its Fall, 2011 national gathering in Kansas City
, they also took a little
time out to protest.
Some — Erica Weiland, Jim Hannah, Jason Rawn, Kima Garrison, and Charles
Carney — were arrested in a symbolic civil disobedience action.
Robert Neuwirth at Foreign Policy has written
an encouraging article about what he calls “System D”
and the headline writer calls “The Shadow Superpower” — more-or-less: the
underground economy, but a version of it that seems to be growing in
sophistication and numbers of particpants. Some excerpts:
System D is a slang phrase pirated from French-speaking Africa and the
Caribbean. The French have a word that they often use to describe
particularly effective and motivated people. They call them
débrouillards. To say a man is a
débrouillard is to tell people how resourceful and ingenious
he is. The former French colonies have sculpted this word to their own social
and economic reality. They say that inventive, self-starting, entrepreneurial
merchants who are doing business on their own, without registering or being
regulated by the bureaucracy and, for the most part, without paying taxes,
are part of “l’economie de la débrouillardise.” Or,
sweetened for street use, “Systeme D.” This essentially
translates as the ingenuity economy, the economy of improvisation and
self-reliance, the do-it-yourself, or
Today, System D is the economy of aspiration. It is where the jobs are. In
2009, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
(OECD), a think tank sponsored by the
governments of 30 of the most powerful capitalist countries and dedicated to
promoting free-market institutions, concluded that half the
workers of the world — close to 1.8 billion people — were working in System
D: off the books, in jobs that were neither registered nor regulated, getting
paid in cash, and, most often, avoiding income taxes.
In many countries — particularly in the developing world — System D is
growing faster than any other part of the economy, and it is an increasing
force in world trade. But even in developed countries, after the financial
crisis of 2008-09, System D was revealed to be an important financial coping
mechanism. A 2009 study by Deutsche Bank, the huge German
commercial lender, suggested that people in the European countries with the
largest portions of their economies that were unlicensed and unregulated — in
other words, citizens of the countries with the most robust System D — fared
better in the economic meltdown of 2008 than folks living in centrally
planned and tightly regulated nations. Studies of countries throughout Latin
America have shown that desperate people turned to System D to survive during
the most recent financial crisis.
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