A booming capitalism is occurring in the largest psychiatric hospital in California brought about by short wages to the 1200 residents. I'll call the mental hospital Capitola where entrepreneurs are improving themselves by opening little stands and pushing carts past the assessment offices, nurses stations, seclusion rooms, and along the mall, gym, and gardens. The regular wage for residents is $1 an hour and they're allowed to work only two hours per day. However, it's legal to sell items to residents and staff including the psych technicians and security.

Business is vigorous now in July because residents are receiving their income tax refunds to finance new small businesses. The cycle repeats annually: They get a grand or so from their income tax, from an investor, a loan, or by saving over time. Investors make about 50% semi-annually on their seed capital for one year. The vendors order items online and shipped directly to the hospital, or have them smuggled in bananas or the rectums of psych techs.

The hottest selling items from the carts, cardboard box shops or sidewalk blankets along the mall are computer and TV cables, video games, jewelry, food and tobacco, coffee, bras for cross-dressers, and tennis shoes. Electronics such as radios, DVDs and televisions go at double or more the retail price. A cheap watch that sells for $10 outside goes for $50 inside. The vendors always undercut the hospital grill and store to attract bargain crazy residents, and guarantee their products. Maxwell House coffee that sells for $8 a jar outside goes for $10 from a vendor and $15 at the hospital store. A handful of residents are called 'warehouses' who buy in bulk from online, and then distribute them to resident 'distributors' who either buy and sell inside the hospital at a markup of 50%, or take a 20% commission.

The carts are made from wheelchairs which the vendors rent by the day from residents who have them, and other sellers use cloth shopping bags or spread their blankets along the halls and mall.

Money inside the mental hospital is illegal to touch, and almost all sales are via booklets of Forever U.S. postage stamps.

No one seems to mind, and the staff in their clean white coats believe the responsibility of capitalism keeps the residents busy and stimulates their minds.


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