In The Pearl what happened when the Indians attempted to market their pearls collectively as a group?
When Kino goes to the pearl buyers to bargain a price for his pearl, the whole community goes with him. His brother, Juan Tomas, warns him about the possibility of being cheated by the pearl traders. He says,
"How can we know what is a fair price, if we do not know what the pearl buyer gets for the pearl in another place?" (pg 45)
He then tells Kino the story of previous attempts to sell pearls to buyers in the big city before Kino was born. The old men thought they could get more money if they sold their pearls collectively to pearl buyers in the capital. They hired an agent to go into the city, sell the pearls, and that agent would earn a percentage of the profit. So, they hired a man, pooled their pearls, and sent him to the city. They never heard from the man again, and the pearls were lost.
Though discouraged, they tried it a second time and hired another man. Again they pooled their pearls and sent him to the city. He was never heard from again, and they lost their pearls a second time. So they gave up the whole idea and went back to the old way. They sold their pearls to the pearl buyers in town.
The Indians were told that though it was a good idea, it was against religion. The priest at the local parish told them that,
"The loss of the pearls was a punishment visited on those who tried to leave their station." (pg 45)
He made the same sermon every year telling the Indians that they had a station in life and must not attempt to leave it or,
".....else the castle (Universe) is in danger from the assaults of Hell." (pg 45)
So, the Indians no longer tried to sell their pearls elsewhere.