Business: Italy's Secret Economy

Illegal cellar factories and low wages—but no taxes

Faced with a tough government austerity program and a period of inevitable economic hardship, millions of Italians have fallen back on a uniquely Latin approach to the problem of how to preserve the vestiges of their fast disappearing dolce vita. With wage gains quickly eroded by runaway inflation and jobs in any case difficult to find, many workers have simply quit the official system to work in the booming secret economy that has come to be known as il lavoro nero, the labor black market.

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