I know I often talk about economics, and refer to the market as some sort of abstract construction, but today I'm writing about an actual market. The first thing you notice when you walk in is the low rumbling of everyone just talking. It's absolutely crazy. Even when I was in the office, there was never that level of din and rumbling when we were busy. That was the first thing I noticed, and it struck me as wicked. There's really no where else that I've experienced that kind of noise environment. It was absolutely fascinating.
The second experience in the market was the fundamentals of what we call a transaction. It's something we never think about in North America. You see a price, and that's what you pay. In some ways, it speeds up the transaction and makes doing business in the market less of a hassle, but on the flip side, there's a lot of notions that underlie the idea of a posted price that are experienced to the fullest when you are in a market like this.
The idea of bargaining. It's something that people advise you to learn when you get to China. Assuming that we can speak the language, what goes in in the market in China is actually something very amazing. When you see the volume of people that go through the market, it's amazing to think about how the market was such a vital development. When you have all the sellers come together, it means the buyer has more choice. I know this is a basic advantage of the market (reduction of transaction costs: less travel, less hassle, and more selection), but it's amazing to experience it in this way.
I think that feeling of the live market is why I enjoy Beijing so much in general. There's a feeling that the market is alive and the city is alive. To experience this kind of pure capitalism first hand certainly gives you a new perspective on capitalism and its possible developments.
It's interesting then, for me, to think about how the market in China will develop in the future. I wonder if the markets will settle down and become more like the stable (and less lively) markets of Western countries.
Anyway, it was amazing to experience a living market. It's certainly different from what you experience in North America.