The local Palestinian owned supermarket just spent a lot of money installing a new set of refrigerated shelves for fruit and vegetables. The manager said they were also getting more organic produce, since people had asked for it. He seemed proud. I asked him who was pushing for the organics, thinking it might be the manhattanites, though I doubted there were enough to drive a market. "No. It's what people want. Everybody wants organic. The immigrants want it." He shrugged: "I want it."
And this is the poorer part of the neighborhood. My block is playing catch-up.
I'm seeing more women in the neighborhood fully covered: Arab women in Abayas, and Bangladeshi women in plain green, but also in colorful silks. This summer on hot days I saw a lot of parasols, carried by women in Salwar Kameez and Dupatta (long scarf), that are not always so demure. I saw a teenage girl in Hijab and a T-shirt that said "Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy." There was a big Bangladeshi exodus to Detroit a couple of years ago, but a new group has taken their place. The immigrants are more than holding on. The Brazilians, Mexicans (from Puebla) and Ecuadorians are still coming. The Greeks (farther north), Albanians and ex-Yugoslavs (no Serbs) are still here, as are the Spanish (Galician), Japanese, Filipino and on down the list.
What drives the neighborhood is not capitalism but trade. "Trade doesn't eat itself" as a friend says. The logic of capitalism is voracious. It can't stop. As one logic among others, it's constrained. But it can't be constrained by an idea or a plan. It can only be constrained by another need.
American political and economic theorists -across the political spectrum- pay no attention to psychology. They leave that to novelists and pop stars. Chomsky's a believer in some sort of "rational actor theory." Liberals pretend at least. They all follow some form or another of an individualist philosophy that must deny both psychology and culture in order to make any sense. It's either freedom or vulgar determinism; autonomous logic or voodoo tribalism, the shadows of which are used as decoration after it's been overcome. But we aren't defined or constrained by culture. Feh.
Everything begins with psychology, and the psychology of capitalism is changing.