Cover of Vendors
Vendors' Capitalism
A Political Economy of Public Markets in Mexico City
Ingrid Bleynat


July 2021
264 pages.
from $30.00

Hardcover ISBN: 9781503614604
Paperback ISBN: 9781503628298



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 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.

About the author

Ingrid Bleynat is a Lecturer in the Department of International Development at King's College London.