Analysts cited in a CNBC story Wednesday believe the mainstream economy in the U.S. would look a lot worse, if not for a burgeoning off-the-grid network of transactions that has kept many Americans afloat as traditional employment has suffered.
Experts believe the underground economy may account for as much as $2 trillion per year in the United States, with all of those untaxed transactions falling beneath the radar of the Internal Revenue Service.
Tellingly, one professor compares the circumstances surrounding the surge in the American underground economy to those of developing countries, with participants motivated by a combination of desperation over generating income by traditional means and resignation that things aren’t going to fix themselves.
“You normally see underground economies in places like Brazil or in southern Europe,” said Fordham University professor Laura Gonzalez. “But with the job situation and the uncertainty in the economy, it’s not all that surprising to have it growing here in the United States.”