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The Wayuus, Competition and the Benefits of the Digital Economy

 |  May 16, 2019

By Marianela Lopez-Galdos, Project DisCo

This week, the ABA Antitrust section is hosting worldwide competition experts in Cartagena de Indias, Colombia, to discuss competition law, policy and economics. As enforcers, practitioners and academics stroll down the streets of this city, they will find numerous products to bring back to their home countries. Among others, the Wayuu ‘mochilas,’ artisan handbags produced by the Wayuus, are examples of such products. The ‘Wayuus’ or ‘guajiros’ are a Native American ethnic group of the Guajira Peninsula in the northernmost part of Colombia and northwest Venezuela.

So what is the connection between the Wayuus’ mochilas and the digital economy? Behind the Wayuu mochilas there is an important story to tell, which is related to how the digital economy is helping individuals and smaller businesses to connect with the global market. As competition enforcers discuss the trade-offs of the digital economy and endeavor to better understand the dynamics behind multi-sided business models, it’s important to recognize how the Wayuus have been able to use the Internet to their benefit by creating a multi-sided business model.

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