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Counterfeit Cooperation

Ever wonder how hundreds of street vendors around the world seem to be selling the same merchandise displayed on the same white sheets at the same time for the same prices? 

In an article on Senegalese immigrants to Italy, the Economist pulls back the veil on an organized expatriate community of counterfeit handbag salesmen.  Many are members of the Muslim Mouride movement, and they support both one another and their families back home:   

On the street, [Alioune] Ka greets fellow Mourides, who form cheerful, close-knit sub-groups.  Sellers of bags and belts, mostly made in China, gather to hone their techniques for dodging the police....

Once a week most Mourides in Rome gather to pray, socialise and see who needs help.

In other words, they're the perfect self-reliant, hardworking, future citizens -- with an illegal twist.

Street vendor in Venice