ANKARA – If it is true that we live in a “global village,” bound to one another through commercial, financial, and social ties, then it is also true that informal economic activity in one part of the world has a negative impact elsewhere. That means that formalizing every economy should be viewed as a global public good. The G-20 and other international entities should take the lead in ensuring the coordination and cooperation needed to provide it.
The biggest losers of the informal economy are ordinary citizens, because informality inhibits long-term economic growth and productivity gains; creates unfair competition; hinders the growth of small and medium-size enterprises (the main sources of employment); and leaves millions of workers without basic rights, such as health insurance and pensions. It also leads to significant tax-revenue losses, reducing both the quality and quantity of public services. Income inequality and social injustice invariably increase as well.