The U.S.-Mexico border as arbitrage

Los Algodones in the morning, looking south from entry gate, March 27, 2014

Los Algodones in the morning, looking south from entry gate, March 27, 2014

As you exit the pedestrian gate at the U.S.-Mexico border crossing at Algodones, you find dentistry, a pharmacy and cheap liquor.

In other words, the international line created a sharp gradient, over which money from Northside accordingly spilled; and Mexicans came from all over Southside to be nourished by that money.

– William T. Vollman, Imperial

One Comment

  1. I got to see how things have changed over the years with Algodones. 40 years ago the town boasted a total of two dentists and several curio shops. One of the dentists did late night advertising on KBLU TV. “We even have an X-Ray Machine”, was the boast. Algodones provided a modest outlet to visitors. The main draw was San Luis on the South.

    I came back to the area 20 years later and to my shock Algodones became the draw card to winter visitors and the casual visitor. Location, location, location! It was 2 miles from I-8 and minutes away from Yuma’s snowbirds. San Luis didn’t have that.

    The number of dentists and eye doctors that this town contains must be a record. They’re everywhere. How is the dental service? A little behind the times but extremely affordable. You can get tip-top service for less than your co-pay that you would pay up here.

    As much as I have visited the place — you also see the dynamics on how they do business. Although I haven’t Googled it, I’m sure that someone has done some type of paper on how the place is operated. It’s efficient on several levels.

    Yes, it fills a nitche.


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