“If ever there was a chance to see the place of the small American town in the era of the global economy, the meth epidemic is it” (Reding, 16). The town of Oelwein in Nick Redding’s book Methland, through its illicit involvement in the meth epidemic, serves as a painful example to the effectiveness of this “global economy,” or in terms of the subject of this essay, the modern national-level market. The concept of a market is one that Meredith L. McGill tactfully delves into in her essay Market; the concepts from her essay will be used to analyze the specific market for meth in the book Methland.
SUMMARY OF ESSAY
The essay in question offers historical background and context to the current meaning of a market. According to McGill, before the nineteenth century, a market was defined as a literal geographical location where trade, sales, and commerce took place, especially to deliver perishable items to the public on a reliable basis. Markets, as define here, thrived. They undoubtedly had their place in the culture of their time; but culture has changed and with it the definition of market.
According to McGill, the idea of a market has transitioned from that of being “local and regional” into that of being a “national trade system.” (McGill, 149). Along with this shift of definition, interdependent variables such as synchronized price fluctuation and competition for labor, which both define and affect the market itself, where produced. Also, major constraints in the previous system where thrown out the window when the new one rolled in. For example,
McGill writes that “other threshold conditions of a market system include…the removal of geographic, social and cultural impediments to the mobility of goods and labor” (McGill,
Market). According the McGill a truly national market was established by the final years of the nineteenth century.
This relatively new national trade system has a unique relationship with both the government and
Cited: McGill, Meredith L. “Market.” Keywords for American Cultural Studies. Ed. Bruce Burgett and Glenn Hendler. New York: New York UP, 2007. 149-51. Print Reding, Nick. Methland: The Death and Life of an American Small Town. New York: Bloomsbury, 2009. Print