chapter  1
24 Pages

“From the Field to the Cooking Pot”: Economic Crisis and the Threat to Marketers in Peru 1

WithFlorence E. Babb

This chapter examines why economically marginal yet socially necessary workers in petty commerce have come under attack in Peru. By the end of 1974 a Ministry of Food was established to regulate price structures on a regional basis, doing away with marketers’ control of basic food prices. Marketers throughout Peru are regulated, taxed, and supervised through a number of mechanisms. The year 1975, however, marked a downturn in Peru’s economy and the transition to power of the more conservative General Francisco Morales Bermudez, who was willing to take increasingly harsh measures to try to manage the crisis. While marketers may be concerned about the future threat of new markets in which their jobs might be eliminated, the few showcase producer and wholesaler markets in Peru had limited success through 1977. The vendors’ presence might also, incidentally, challenge the notion that this impoverished group is so largely responsible for the economic crisis.