so…recently listened to Research On Religion podcast about Jewish peddlers in 19th century America. All mistakes and misunderstandings are mine, you should just go listen to the episode.
The Lemon Problem… the seller has more information than the buyer about a used car. So the seller could over price the car. So the buyer never wants to pay full price, because they don’t trust the seller. And since the seller is never trusted, the seller is never going to get the true value of their car. As you can see, this is why we never have used cars sold, because the seller can’t get true value because the buyer never has good information.
Wait. That’s not right. In the old days, we would take the car to a trusted mechanic, to get a better idea about the true value. Now, we can check on CarFacts (one of those disparaged “middle-men”, who get public information that any of us could get, but they gather lots of it, so it is value in bulk. Another note, we need to thank “middle-men” so that we can actually have an affordable dinner. Just think if you had to go find the butcher, wheat farmer, vegetable farmer…let alone the coffee grower!)
Trust…important. Banks. Car dealers. Grocery store. We need to know they will be there when something goes wrong. That’s why we don’t usually bank at Bob’s-Back-of-the-Bus-Bank-LLC.
Historically, Jewish people have been chased from many countries. So they tended to concentrate their wealth in something that is easy to transport. Diamonds, not factories. They were not readily welcomed into American communities…they dressed differently, they didn’t work on Saturdays, they ate differently.
Why didn’t they just adapt, and leave behind their traditions? Because the value they placed on belonging to their Jewish community. (Remember, they valued it so much they have been chased out of multiple countries.)
So, you have a group, portable wealth, keeping to their own community… a perfect job for a recent Jewish immigrant was peddler. Go out with some stuff, and you’re not gonna just keep the cash and rip off your boss, because you would be alone.
yeah…you should pro’lly just listen to the episode.