Chapter 9: The Enabling Option
INTRODUCTION Having reviewed the continuities and changes in thought on the underground economy, and elucidated how a more positive representation of the underground economy as a hidden enterprise culture has begun to emerge in western economies, it has been displayed in the last two chapters that neither a deterrence nor laissez-faire approach allows the potentially positive attributes of this hidden enterprise culture to be retained while dealing with its more negative impacts. For this to occur, this chapter will argue that an enabling approach is required that treats such enterprise and entrepreneurship as an asset but only if harnessed and transferred into the legitimate realm. Here, therefore, the recognition of a hidden enterprise culture is not seen to provide a rationale for deregulating the formal economy (that is, turning formal employment into unregulated underground enterprise). Rather, the contention is that recognizing the underground economy as a breeding ground and platform for entrepreneurship and enterprise creation means that policies need to be pursued to legitimize such endeavour and move it into the formal sphere. To introduce this policy option of harnessing enterprise and entrepreneurship in the underground economy, ﬁrst of all, this chapter will review the arguments so far made regarding the nature of the underground economy and following this, the implications of pursuing the various policy options will be recapped so as to make the case for the third and ﬁnal option of harnessing underground entrepreneurship by bringing it into the legitimate realm. How this might start to be implemented...
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