Ingrid BleynatNov 12, 2021
A Political Economy of Public Markets in Mexico City
Stanford University Press 2021
Mexico City's public markets were integral to the country's economic development, bolstering the expansion of capitalism from the mid-nineteenth to mid-twentieth centuries. These publicly owned and operated markets supplied households with everyday necessities and generated revenue for local authorities. At the same time, they were embedded in a wider network of economic and social relations that gave the vendors who sold in them an influence far beyond the running of their stalls. As they fed the capital's population and fought to protect their own livelihoods, vendors' daily interactions with customers, suppliers and local government shaped the city's public sphere and expanded the scope of popular politics. Vendors' Capitalism: A Political Economy of Public Markets in Mexico City (Stanford University Press, 2021) argues for the centrality of Mexico City's public markets to the political economy of the city from the restoration of the Republic in 1867 to the heyday of the so-called "Mexican miracle" and the PRI in the 1960s. As the sites of vendors' dealings with workers, suppliers, government officials, and politicians, the multiple conflicts that beset them repeatedly tested the institutional capacity of the state. Through a close reading of the archives and an analysis of vendors' intersecting economic and political lives, Ingrid Bleynat considers the dynamics, as well as the limits, of capitalist development in Mexico.
Ethan Besser Fredrick is a graduate student in Modern Latin American history seeking his PhD at the University of Minnesota. His work focuses on the Transatlantic Catholic movements in Mexico and Spain during the early 20th century.