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Rajni Bakshi: The Bazaar

Jenny Asarnow
03/03/2011 at 8:00 p.m.

Around the world, grassroots movements are resisting free market culture. And yet societies around the world have also rejected communism. What if there was a middle ground between the two?

Tonight we hear from a voice unknown in the United States, but lauded in India. Mumbai–based journalist and activist Rajni Bakshi won India's biggest literary prize, the 2009 Vodafone Crossword Book Award, for her book "Bazaars, Conversations and Freedom: For a Market Culture Beyond Greed and Fear."

Bakshi says the traditional bazaar is that middle ground between communism and free market capitalism. She argues that the traditional marketplace — where vendors and customers compete and collaborate, bargain and gossip — represents a more socially responsible culture of commerce. Whereas the free market separates our economic activity from our social and ethical selves, she says activity in a bazaar is as much about forming values and ideas as trading goods.

Bakshi happened to be in Seattle visiting her brother when she took some time to speak at the Elliot Bay Book Company on May 19, 2010.

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