The shoe as a political statement

RN from Squatter City has started a new blog “Stealth of Nations” which reports on the global informal economy. In this latest post he reports on the sale of shoes under Eko Bridge in Lagos


The Abassa Alakoro Market in Lagos, Nigeria. If Max Weber was right that “the ‘city’ is a market place,” then Lagos is the absolute definition of a city–and the informal economy is what made it that way.

The second hand shoes in the photo probably come from all over the world – some specially imported to sell under Eko Bridge. The global south has always been a huge market for used clothing, electronics, food (it is not difficult to find canned food well past it’s sell by date in markets), drugs and anything else the West no long wants or needs . This is fine to the extent that what is being sent is not a heath hazard or likely to generally add to an already polluted environment. Nonetheless with rising unemployment (set to reach between 3-5 million depending on how you calculate the figures) the market for used clothing in the West is growing and I wonder how that will affect markets in the global south? For example most people I know here in London buy at least some of their clothes and other products from charity shops or even better through the Freecycle networks.

For many the informal economy is the only means of survival whether you are a buyer or seller and I expect it to grow as people do whatever they need to, to survive.

The shoe of an unknown person killed by guns or bombs. How many empty shoes are lying alone their owners dead in Zimbabwe, the DRC and now Gaza?

Update – lack of concentration led to this post being published before it was completed!