The role of entrepreneurs in transnational markets is an important but neglected topic in market and entrepreneurial studies. This paper addresses the social organization of a specific commodity market, that of chile, used by Mexican entrepreneurs engaged in distributing product in the Los Angeles Wholesale Market Terminal. In addition to describing the primary activity for chile buyers for the markets of Los Angeles and Tijuana, Mexico, this paper discusses the ideology of chileros, chile entrepreneurs, that revolves around both the commodity and the Mexican construct of equipos based on confianza, and patron-client type relationships. With an emerging capitalism and competition for product in production regions throughout Mexico, the chilero system of distribution and its accompanying ideology is breaking down. The importance of this cultural behavior is contextualized in the ongoing debate about the North American Free Trade Act and emerging ethnic markets resulting from new configurations of immigrant settlements impacting North America.

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