By Benjamin S. Orlove
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Extra info for Alpacas, Sheep, and Men. The Wool Export Economy and Regional Society in Southern Peru
Some textile mills are supplied in part with wool from haciendas belonging to their owners. A few of them send purchasing agents to the weekly markets and annual fairs in the wool-producing regions. Several 38 The Wool Economy in Southern Peru Peruvian textile mills have attempted to establish regular wool purchases but failed for a number of reasons. The established wool-buying firms benefit from a detailed knowledge of the market and from long-term contacts with suppliers. Since these firms handle a larger amount of wool than most factories, economies of scale offer them a second advantage.
The timing of production adds further difficulties. Shearing takes place during the rainy season, when the roads wash out and landslides sometimes block the railroad. Some buyers make trips through the puna, buying wool directly from the herders who produce it. Weekly markets and annual fairs are held in a number of locations in the area, where petty traders buy skins and fleeces, a few at a time, and larger merchants both buy in small quan- FIGURE 4. Important middlemen in the wool trade often bring several truckloads of sacks of wool to railroad stations on a single day.
The processes of articulation, cooperation, and conflict operate there as they do elsewhere. Thus what the Sicuani region shares with all other areas is neither its uniqueness nor its inclusion in a world-system, but the confrontation of specificity and generality in its history that permits an empirical analysis of the type suggested by the sectorial model. 2 The History of the World Wool Market The first shipments of Peruvian wool to England in the 1830s directly linked two economic systems that had been relatively isolated from each other.