Monday, April 5, 2010

Informal economy in Alaska

Remember in class on Monday when we were talking about the informal economy? We were talking about examples of the informal economy--babysitting, selling illegal drugs, and prostitution. Other examples include selling plasma, selling stolen goods, or selling items on eBay or at a yard sale. Any participation in the economy that is "under the table", illegal, quasi-legal, or not reported as taxable income is likely to be an example of participation in the informal economy.

Also, remember how I made the claim in class that in Alaska, we don't typically have massage parlors that promote prostitution? I think I mentioned that prostitution was quite popular in my homestate of North Carolina, and that massage parlors often operated as legal front businesses, with prostitution being an illegal, backroom activity. And then... I read today's newspaper. And guess what?! Three local massage parlors were busted for prostitution. You can read about it here:

If you gave your neighbor cash for a hunk of of his moose, or traded some salmon for vegetables from her garden, you were participating in the informal economy. If you sold your textbooks from last semester's classes to another student, you were participating in the informal economy. The yard sale where you sold that couch, TV, and microwave so that you could pay tuition? Informal economy. Can you think of other examples of the informal economy in Alaska?

Photo of a flea market interaction borrowed from

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