Bet 509

Duration 2 years (02009-02011)

“By the end of 2011 it will be clear that the world financial crisis of 2009 had no effect on the rate of urbanization in the developing world, but it led to growth of the informal economy in those countries and to increases in global crime.”

Stewart Brand


Brand's Argument

Where are the refuges when there is chaos in the formal economy---meaning the economy of on-the-books, taxed, legal financial activities? Poor people who lose legitimate jobs will seek---or create---employment in the world of crime or off-the-books informal transactions, often in the slums where one billion live. Before the 2009 crisis, the informal economy was estimated to embrace 60% of all employment in developing countries. Because the informal economy and crime thrive best in cities, the headlong migration to cities throughout the world will not be slowed.

The success or failure of this prediction will difficult to judge precisely. Perhaps a good place to watch will be reports in the Economist magazine. All three statements in the prediction must prove out for a win.

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