This Illegal Activity Has Led to the Loss of 750,000 American Jobs

A U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer displays counterfeit designer shoes

A U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer displays counterfeit designer shoes | Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

You’ve probably seen people selling stuff on the street at an incredible markdown. Designer handbags, clothes, shoes, even electronics — all can be found for cheap if you know where to look. Most people are aware that these products aren’t usually genuine. They’re counterfeit goods, more often than not. But sometimes, a fake Prada bag is so tempting you just can’t say no.

But what most people don’t realize is just how damaging this underground economy is. Yes, these products hurt the businesses they are ripping off. It goes deeper than that, however. Counterfeit goods impact workers by the hundreds of thousands.

In fact, it’s cost American workers alone 750,000 jobs, and 2.5 million jobs worldwide.

That figure comes by way of a report from NetNames, A CSC Company and a global online brand protection firm. According to NetNames’ report, the global counterfeit economy has grown substantially over the past few decades. “In 1982, the size of the global counterfeit market was estimated at $5.5 billion, compared with $350 billion in 2009 and $1.7 trillion today,” the report said.

This, naturally, creates all sorts of issues for governments. “By slashing business revenues and harming employment, counterfeiting increases the need for welfare payments, while the funds it generates are diverted to organized crime − in turn necessitating more spending on policing.”