The Underground Economy

Hans F. Sennholz

There is a bustling and shadowy world where jobs, services, and business transactions are conducted by word of mouth and paid for in cash to avoid scrutiny by government officials. It is called the “underground economy,” which is as old as government itself. It springs from human nature that makes man choose between given alternatives. Facing the agents of government and their exactions, man will weigh the alternatives and may choose to go “underground.”

The Underground Economy by Hans F. Sennholz
Meet the Author
Hans Sennholz
Hans F. Sennholz

Hans F. Sennholz (1922-2007) was Ludwig von Mises’s first PhD student in the United States. He taught economics at Grove City College, 1956–1992, having been hired as department chair upon arrival. After he retired, he became president of the Foundation for Economic Education, where he served from 1992-1997. He was an adjunct scholar of the Mises Institute, and in October 2004 was awarded the Gary G. Schlarbaum Prize for lifetime defense of liberty.

Mises Daily Hans F. Sennholz
[This article originally appeared in The Freeman, October 1969.] Although the Great Depression engulfed the world economy many years ago, it lives on as a nightmare for individuals old enough to...
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