The one thing that brings nations into a common pursuit is their economy. For all the other commonalities such as language, culture, history, and territory, associated with nationhood, the economy remains the most suitable for common participation by all citizens.
Considering our history and the exclusionary policies of colonial and apartheid regimes, it may seem possible for people to be excluded from the economy of their country. Yet this is not entirely true.
While it may be possible to exclude people from the mainstream economy, it is not possible to exclude them from the economy itself. As a result of this, all citizens contribute to the economy of their nation in one way or another.
What differs though is the nature of the contribution made by different citizens towards their economy. Sometimes this contribution is detrimental to the overall health of the economy; sometimes it assists the economy. This may be the case whether one is involved in the formal or informal aspects of the economy.
A mistake that is often made is to measure the economic value of this contribution only in monetary terms. However, such a measure does not indicate whether the contribution itself assists or inhibits the economy.
Take, for instance, the short-term pursuit of profits, which creates an atmosphere that encourages the rapid deterioration of the natural environment. This means a heavy cost is incurred by the entire economy in the pursuit of rapid profits by a few, usually big participants, in the economy.