Taking the case of street vendors in Bogotá, a specific group within the larger group of informal workers in the capital city of Colombia, the paper poses a set of questions related to the politics of poverty and inequality.
The paper starts by revising theoretical insights on inequality and the use of indicators on poverty, inequality and employment. After, the report analyses on the basis of document analysis and interviews the actions undertaken by the city of Bogotá and more specifically by the Institute for Social Economy (IPES) regarding its potential contribution to the reduction of inequality and disadvantage for street vendors.
Nowadays, after the 2008/2009 financial crisis and, even more so, due to the still on-going and largely unchartered effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, large capitals in the global south like Bogotá require a guiding reflection towards the renewal of policies geared at the protection of economic, social and cultural rights. As it was initially discussed in Europe, a new people-centred economic paradigm is needed nowadays more than ever to rethink social protection policies. Affordable access to health care and well-adapted educational education should be an important part of this shift. This case study reviews the Bogota City’s efforts in challenging persistent inequality of opportunities and its perpetuation. It discusses the design of existing programmes benefiting street vendors and their social protection coverage.