My daughter couldn’t resist. She was walking recently on the outskirts of the medina in Rabat, the capital of Morocco, when the product being hustled by a teenage street vendor caught her eye.
The package said “Path Crash 911—Super Funny Children’s Toy, Ages 3- and up.” Looking closer, she saw a miniature train set featuring small figures of President Bush and Osama bin Laden. The young small businessman had one in operation, and she watched as Bush—armed and in a military vehicle—raced around the track after bin Laden—riding a skateboard—pursuing but never catching him.
The vendor wanted 40 dirham, or about $5, for the toy. My daughter, experienced in the local ways, bargained him down to 15 dirham, or about $2. He was pleased with the transaction so she knew he was still clearing a substantial profit.
Ah, the power of commerce. We may be locked in a struggle involving geopolitics, ideology, culture and religion in the Middle East, but in the midst of all that, there are still enterprising entrepreneurs who know how to capitalize on the situation and make a buck.
Oh, and Tom Friedman would want you to know that the toy was made in China—more proof that the world is indeed flat. Now, inquiring minds want to know if Halliburton has a toy-making subsidiary in China.
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