Back to the Bazaar

Just wrote this piece for a magazine called One+ about why it’s important to bring commerce into culture. It’s written for events planners (I’m actually going to be one, myself, very shortly – more on that later) but the logic applies to pretty much any community.

While we may all have our varying feelings about the value of corporations and big business in our lives, commerce itself is not to blame for the host of ills attending modern times. Commerce is good – or at the very least an appropriate way to engage with one another at this stage of human evolution. We aren’t living Star Trek just yet.

This piece explains how the bazaar was a p2p marketplace not just for products but for ideas. To avoid all forms of commerce at a meeting – or in an overly planned community – leads to an unfortunate sterility that only forces greater dependence on corporatism.

THE BAZAAR MAY HAVE BEEN THE MOST IDEAL, IMPROMPTU AND PERFECTLY MANDATORY MEETING OF ALL TIME. These late-Middle Ages market days were social and business gatherings where people were as likely to discuss politics, religion and local gossip as they were the price of grain or the quality of meat at the last stall. I expect people remembered and valued the quality of social and intellectual connections as much or more than the actual booty traded—though the trading is what brought everyone to market in the first place.