Detroit’s Underground Economy: Where Capitalism Fails, Alternatives Take Root

The city’s so-called renaissance has reached only small portions of its 139 square miles, leaving much of the population—which is more than 80 percent African-American—behind.

But over decades of poverty, Detroiters have learned to get by without access to traditional cash or credit. There’s a resilient informal economy rooted in neighborhoods and communities: Barter, gifts, time trading and underground businesses are ubiquitous.

Take the vibrant network of off-the-books enterprises such as beauty salons in basements, auto repair shops in back alleys and garages, and, as in Luis Bustos’ case, restaurants in people’s homes.

Read the rest at In These Times


Go to the GEO front page