Latin America

Markets Everywhere


Ocean Malandra

In the U.S., legal restrictions curtail people's ability to sell goods out of their homes and in public spaces. In Latin America, entrepreneurs are often free to set up shop in central locations, so there's always an opportunity to make money by selling fresh avocados or homemade tamales. Instead of everyone in a neighborhood shopping at the same supermarket, it's common to see multiple stalls offering similar products, as in this photo of orange juice vendors engaging in true competition in Bogota, Colombia.

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  1. One of the puzzles for me in trying to guess what a true anartopia would be like is wondering about public spaces, like plazas for market days, or just places to sit during lunch and watch the crowds go by. Parks are easy to figure: part of a housing development; supported by cheap entrance fees (I looked up budgets and visitors for San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park and NYC’s Central Park, and both were very nearly $1 per visitor). I have no doubt that truly free markets would come up with substitutes of some sort and do better, but it’s a puzzle trying to guess what they would be.

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