Understanding the Culture of Markets (Routledge Foundations of the Market Economy)

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It cuts through several layers of bureaucracy and is a fact that is taken-for-granted by both the vendors and the officials they interact with on a daily basis. Looking into the Street Vendors Act and its provisions, Saha remains unconvinced that it could, even as it aims to provide licences to vendors at some cost, fully root out bribery. However, he provides no solution to fill this gap between the intent of the state to formalize and the potential issues in its enforcement. Data varies from basic parameters such as gender, religion, social group, marital status, age distribution etc. Around 2, vendors have been surveyed across 10 cities, making this body of data the first of its kind.

Unfortunately, this routinized shift in practices of a working group is left under-analysed, with the continuities and discontinuities left unexplored. Nevertheless, what Informal Markets… misses out on the sociological analysis of its extensive data, it makes up for in terms of its analysis of what Saha identifies as an inextricable and politically crucial aspect of street vending in urban India: the notion of public space. Siding with the long line of Marxist thought that associates social relations to public space, Saha argues that a vendor exercises two kinds of bargaining with the space she occupies — economic and social.

Economic bargaining is defined as the capacity to negotiate over rates of interest on borrowing with credit providers and the rates of bribery on offer to civic authorities. Social bargaining, on the other hand, is also seen to be crucial, as it is the basis on which the vendor builds social relations with different actors such as customers, other vendors, and moneylenders. The sole consideration available to the vendor is the public space she occupies.

Saha expands upon the types of bribes, the relationship between the products sold by the vendor and the nature of the bribe, the role of intermediaries individuals, typically gang members used by state officials to collect bribes , and the demand-driven process of bribe payment.

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This leads him to conclude that the entire network of bribery acts under the radar of senior-level bureaucrats. With 2, vendors interviewed, Saha manages to compile a source that is bound to be useful for researchers for several years to come. Nevertheless, Informal Markets, Livelihood and Politics: Street Vending in Urban India is an invaluably important contribution to research on street vendors in urban India. Anjaria, J.

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Stanford: Stanford University Press. It should be said that these three notions are only tools to highlight what we think are the most central aspects, whereas others, as a consequence, are downplayed. What is a global market? Let us look at a few examples. By the proliferation of the Internet and the emergence of market places like eBay it is possible to access products of all kinds from all over the world.

In this global market place it is easy to compare prices of products, both for buyers and sellers. Tramp shipping, to take another example, is an industry with a very long history of being global; ships were, and still are, central for making contact and transporting goods between people all around the globe. This industry is made up of ship owners, agents, shipbrokers, and in the end, those who trade commodities. These actors operate in several interconnected markets all over the world.

The tramp shipping market is part of the international shipping industry, a certain market segment in which vessels that operate do not trade regularly between certain fixed ports. Instead they take cargoes from any port to the port required by the customer. The volatility depends on oil prices, wars and much more that boils down to market prices. This market has for a very long time been operated by actors across the world.


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Today about nations have vessels operating on the seven oceans. The industry has a labor force of people from many different nations who work together on the ships, which means that there is also a global labor market for sailors. Let us look at a third global market case. The market for foreign exchange is the largest market in the world in terms of turnover. In the same way as we need to trade our British pounds for euros when going from London to Paris for a weekend holiday, large firms, central banks, as well as financial speculators must trade with different currencies to pay for the goods they buy.

The financial market is highly globalized and traders are located all over the world. These three cases can of course be seen as different and independent cases. But let us look a bit closer to see how they may be connected. When a student sits in her dormitory in Austin in Texas she can compare prices and objects from virtually every corner of the world. Let us assume that she is looking for a used and rare Gibson guitar, and she decides to go for one that is on sale in Germany.

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She orders the Gibson guitar from Trier in Germany, for which she will pay with her debit card in US dollars. The retired rock musician in Trier, who has put out this guitar for sale, will soon see that the money he required in euros is registered on his account. This single transaction can only take place given that there is a market for foreign exchange. But neither of them need directly take part in this financial market, though their banks will have to do it. When the rock musician sends the guitar to the USA, he may send it by air, but since this is more expensive, the two have agreed that he shall send it by surface mail.

This means that the guitar will go perhaps by cars and on railroad, but certainly by ship, before she can play with it in Austin, USA. Thus, this economic relation ties these two persons with different interest together because one has an item for sale that the other is willing to pay for. But since they never meet and directly hand over the money for the guitar, it is still not clear how this works.

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To understand this one must begin to look at economic dependency patterns that involve a number of actors operating in different markets. How does this myriad of actions, interests, goods and money hang together?


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  4. What, in other words, makes the system tick? Let us first clarify a few things. Free trade has not been the state of nature that governments subsequently diluted. Rather, government regulation and their international organization of exchange rates, tariffs and product quality was pivotal in creating free trade. The state may also force actors who transact to pay taxes or custom for the goods. We have also mentioned the motives of the buyer and seller. In between them several transactions may have taken place.

    But they did not take place because the private companies that take care of the transport of the guitar within Germany are so enthusiastic about music, nor is it because the sailors on board of the vessel who take it across the Atlantic like their tin-can so much that they stay away from home for three months so that the guitar can make this journey successfully; in their eyes, it is not the guitar as such that has been traded. These firms, and those employed by these firms, have made sure that the package, quite regardless of its content, gets to the right address in Austin.

    Many actors and institutions are involved in the process of taking the guitar in one direction and money in the other. However, in the global economy money travels only as accounts, that is, only as registration of numbers, and never as actual physical money. Though neither the guitar player in the USA nor the seller in Germany has had as their primary interest to make profit on this trade, they may both have looked at different alternatives to be better off in comparison with other deals.

    The actors — the middlemen — who made this deal possible are motivated by profit, and may compete with each other. This extremely complicated transaction, which in reality is much more complicated than what has been indicated here, is made possible by people who are organized in firms in order to make money. In addition to the motives, the knowledge of where and how to transact, and the knowledge of the rules of the market-game, are important components for trade to take place.

    These examples show the interdependence in the global economy. To speak of global markets cannot be done unless one also refers to local markets. In the examples, it moreover becomes evident that one cannot reduce these global economic dependency patterns to technology, nor to individual motives alone.

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    In fact, it is possible to identify these patterns in old societies, long before there were computers. This is, of course, only a necessary condition that does not lead to trade in absence of specific historical constellations or even geographical factors. Having said this, the change, which cannot only be reduced to economic factors as discussed elsewhere in this volume has taken place over the last decades means that the globe has become smaller in more than one way.

    The examples, moreover, indicate that there are global markets in the contemporary economy. One could, in fact, talk of a completely global economy if all markets were global, i.