Friday, 4 November 2016

Capitalisms Street Entrepreneurs

One thing about the third world is that, despite the rampant corruption and street crime, that often threatens to take away any and everything that an enterprising small business man works hard for, they just keep sprouting up all over the place anyway. This fact by the way is proof positive, if ever it was needed, that capitalism is mankind's natural economic model.

When A Market Exists, Someone Will Attempt To Fill It.

This picture, which appeared on the BBC website, shows one such entrepreneur's street stall on Ngong road in Nairobi, Kenya.  As well the usual second hand clothes and bric-a-bric items, they have a sideline in sign writing.  So apart from the basic signs such as 'RESERVED PARKING', and the classic 'We give credit to those over 80 years accompanied by both parents', they also have my favourite 'LADYGAL ART'.

I admit that they are not well presented, nor what a professional sign writer would give you, but they have obviously spotted a local need and attempted to fill it at prices people can afford.

This reminded of one of my many trips to Turkey (when I still went there), when I would visit local markets ... these would attract hawkers of all sorts of commodities and services that would meet a local niche need. Such as the itinerant 'Lighter repair men' ... who for around fifty pence (60 cents), would attempt to repair any broken lighter you had on you, using boxes of broken lighters for the spare parts.

Once There Were Lighter Repair Men Like This One, In Naples In The 1940's and 1950's

It was as much street entertainment as service, and would attract quite a crowd when a foreigner such as myself presented my broken lighter to one. I suspect that national pride was involved, judging from the frantic efforts of the street vendor, and the noise of relief from both him and the crowd, when he eventually brought the lighter back to life ..... national face was saved. 

Plastic throwaway lighters no doubt killed off this profession, at least in Turkey, but the fact that it arose at all, shows the indomitable spirit of the street entrepreneur.


  1. Nice piece to take one's mind off the current horrors across the pond.


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