Category Archives: environment

Publication: A World Built on Sand and Oil

This is probably one of my favourite publications, in part because I was pushed and pushed by Lapham Quarterly‘s superb editors. The essay compares the trade in oil and sand today to think through maritime transportation, the building of infrastructures, the … Continue reading

Posted in capital accumulation, construction, empire, imperialism & colonialism, environment, infrastructure, Middle East, oil, ports, transport, Uncategorized | Leave a comment


In one of the most significant environmental decisions the Trump administration has taken, a ban on offshore drilling was lifted on 4 January 2018.  The New York Times reported: While the plan puts the administration squarely on the side of … Continue reading

Posted in environment, infrastructure, oil, political economy | 1 Comment

Of Ballast and Land Reclamation

That extraordinary image is from some time in the 1970s, and the container-ship steaming so serenely in Hudson River is a Jugolinija ship belonging to the Yugoslav national shipping line.  What is of course poignant about the image is that … Continue reading

Posted in capital accumulation, construction, environment, imperialism & colonialism, infrastructure, political economy, transport, Uncategorized, war | 1 Comment

The Multivalence of Infrastructures II – Rail

I am reading a fascinating article about colonial engineering. Canay Ozden’s fabulous “Pontifex Minimus” is about the British engineer of the Low (or old) Aswan Dam, and the article just drips with all sorts of wonderful quotable sections.  For example, … Continue reading

Posted in empire, empire, imperialism & colonialism, environment, imperialism & colonialism, infrastructure, Uncategorized, war | Leave a comment


Silt Stephen Burt Things you know but can’t say, the sort of things, or propositions that build up week after week at the end of the day, & have to be dredged by the practical operators so that their grosser … Continue reading

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Pirate Jenny: Labour and capital in Khor Fakkan

14 February 2015 in Khor Fakkan port After several hours of watching the unloading of the ship, and after walking on the port to go to the duty-free shop (to buy a new memory card for my camera), it is … Continue reading

Posted in Allan Sekula, capital accumulation, environment, labour, logistics, Middle East, readings, transport, Travels | Leave a comment

Anyone’s Ghost: Fishing grounds of the Arabian Sea

12 February 2015 Morning We passed Salalah in the night, and the sea is not as lonely as it was yesterday, with the AIS showing at least 5 or 6 ships at a time (when it was sometimes entirely bereft … Continue reading

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Train whistles and futures

I am reading two books simultaneously through both of which trains rattle and whistle and snake…  But which in some ways are as different as they can be.  Bill Cronon’s Nature’s Metropolis is a panoramic history of the making of Chicago in the … Continue reading

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Carbon Capital in Motion

I have already written about ships as workplaces, and of workers held captive on ships.  Now, the NY Times reports on a massive floating refinery which is going to look for fossil fuels in the Indian Ocean.   The ship is … Continue reading

Posted in capital accumulation, environment, infrastructure, oil, political economy, ships | Leave a comment

Navigating through the arctic

Rather terrifying to think that the ice has melted so much that ships can navigate through: The polar route to the port of Bayuquan, China, is about 40 percent shorter than the route through the Panama Canal, according to Fednav. … Continue reading

Posted in capital accumulation, environment, shipping conditions | Leave a comment