El Paso like a lot of places with 

more culture than money, 

There is a lot of good food. 

I drove up AlamedaStreet.jpg
HeideSwapMeet.jpg

Alameda Street is a slow ride...

Dollar Stores have been around since the 1950s. However in the 1990’s-- they grew exponentially. The ubiquity of these stores obscures the increase in poverty and middle class loss. Beyond stocking nearly everthing the global market promises, they create a lot of jobs.  

Follow Alameda Street. This was the old main drag into the El Paso Lower Valley before I-10 came in. Now days it is a brilliant, dusty, crumbling infrastructure of what is left of manufacture, infused with growth and collapse. Mad Max meets The Grapes of Wrath. Open air mercados, fronting for tire stores, Tamale stands and yet another Dollar General. 

This is action economics. The car manufacture industry-- along with clothing manufacture, after NAFTA mosied over the line to Mexico and beyond--making way for low-tech salvage with a reach that is global. Salvage workers in another generation might have been field hands, but today folks scavange and transport the carcases of a left-over industry from uno lado de la frontera a el otro y fue todo el mundo. 

Scavengers of the global economy find themselves in direct and indirect conflict with pastoral elements of the El Paso lower valley. As car junkyards and stripmalls give way to dry, empty stretches of land-- this is farm country. Cotton and Pecans are the two primary crops of the El Paso valley. The rich valley that grows PIMA cotton led in earlier generations to the development of a robust garment manufacturing industry, which also has struggled in the last generations.