Scrap collectors and the crisis


The current financial crisis has found its way to unimaginable places. While most Brazilians remain optimistic – after all the crisis was created far, far away from here by economies much more dependant on the financial markets – the fact is that it has brought consequences to many people who don’t even know what the financial market is and who have never heard of subprime mortgages and foreclosures (and never will).

The man who told me their story is not an economist, or a journalist. He is João Câmara, a cab driver who drove me home some days ago. He started by complaining that he did not know his way around: he’d been out of the taxi business for 15 years. What had happened, I asked. I had opened my own business, he replied.
He ran a centre for selection of recyclable materials in São Paulo. Scrap collectors would come with their wooden carts and sell the stuff they’d gathered – paper, plastic bottles, aluminium cans – to be cleaned, selected and then sold to major recycling companies. In other words, he was a middleman.

Read the rest of this post at Natalia Viana’s blog.