Spain has been suffering a great deal of economic distress. Fortunately, there is a silver lining to the country’s storm clouds. While the “legitimate” economy is floundering the “underground” economy is flourishing:
Spain’s illicit economy–all that is unaccounted for because it’s illegal or unreported–is worth an unseemly 20% of the country’s GDP, according to a new report by Spain’s Foundation for Financial Studies (FEF). That’s higher than every other country in the European Union except Italy, with 21%.
Spain only has a little catching up to do before it overtakes the current leader of the European Union, Italy.
While a Keynesian would look at such news in despair, an agorist, such as myself, would point out the fact that a country’s economy isn’t in the toilet simply because the state says it is. In the eyes of the state an economy’s health is measured by the rate rate of expropriation. If the state is able to expropriate a great amount of wealth from the general populace then, in its eyes, the economy is health. On the other hand, if the state is unable to expropriate a great amount of wealth from the general populace then it believes the economy is failing.
Markets don’t cease operating because participants are unable to fulfill the state’s demands. When the state begins to demand more than market participants can or are willing to surrender then those markets move underground. The state sees such “underground” markets as its enemy because they are its death knell; they are the the result of the people finally standing up a saying “Enough! Go bad to Hell from whence you came you evil plunderers!” As we can see by the estimated size of Spain’s “underground” economy, the people there have finally grown so sick of their rulers that they are refusing to surrender any of their hard earned wealth even under the threat of being thrown into a cage or murdered by costume clad thugs with badges.
I only hope that Spain’s overall disgust in rulers will eventually spread here to the United States.