According to a recent report, 40 to 80 per cent of Filipino residents work in the informal economy. Meanwhile, informal settlements are everywhere apparent, with self-built structures lining the waterways and filling nearly every available space in the city, and with informal settlers working in seemingly every aspect of the urban economy.
Even a casual look at Manila, and other bourgeoning global cities, shows that the functioning of the urban economy depends on informality. Informality allows workers to subsist on marginal incomes. Informality provides homes where the formal market does not. Despite or perhaps because of their meagre pay, these workers’ role in the global service economy is anything but marginal.
Photo in featured image by Luca Bucken.