Nearly two billion people work in it. And it accounts for perhaps 20% of the world’s total economic activity, writes Mark Nestmann in International Man.

“It” is the black market, or System D, a slang phrase adapted from the French word débrouillard. A débrouillard is a resourceful and self-reliant person. A débrouillard figures out how to get what they need regardless of the obstacles. The obstacles are usually the laws or price controls put in place by the state.

There are a lot of débrouillards in the world. In 2009, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), estimated that around 1.8 billion people – at the time, half the world’s working age people — had unofficial jobs that weren’t registered, regulated, or (in many cases) taxed. The OECD estimated that by 2020, two-thirds of the world’s workforce would be part of System D. Read more on Accounting Weekly