11/1 Shipping: The Engine Of Global Capitalism w/ Laleh Khalili

November 1, 2021

Sam and Emma host  Laleh Khalili, Professor of International Politics at Queen Mary University of London, to discuss her recent book Sinews of War and Trade: Shipping and Capitalism in the Arabian Peninsula, on how the maritime trade infrastructure has become a microcosm of global capitalism, and what it can teach us about labor relations, lasting imperialism, and the gig economy. Professor Khalili starts with a distillation of the current role of maritime trade, with over 80% of good transported by sea at some point, from raw materials coming from Africa, Australia, and the global south in general, working through production in China, and finally moving across the world in their final form. She next walks Emma and Sam through how maritime trade has revolutionized the global economy, completely shifting the world away from regional production, and helping bolster the power and imposition of the North Atlantic economies, allowing them to reiterate the imperial economics of old, as they take raw materials from developing economies and sell them back, building the debt of the rest of the world. She also touches on the internal shift in North Atlantic economies as industry shifts abroad and service economies begin to take their place at home, ensuring that the inequalities between laborers in debt, and capitalists with credit are reiterated no matter the regional constraints. Next, they dive into the key material of maritime trade, as they explore the transport of crude oil that has aided the rise of Qatar, Kuwait, and the UAE as central ports, looking at the self-reinforcing relationship between maritime innovation and the increased production of hydrocarbons. Laleh, Emma, and Sam also dive into what makes port location so important, and the variables that come into play, before they wrap up the interview by touching on the labor exploitation central to maritime trade, and how the already precarious gig work of shipping workers, truck drivers, and port workers has been upended by the pandemic. Sam and Emma also touch on this weekend’s updates on the reconciliation and bipartisan infrastructure bills.

And in the Fun Half: Emma, Sam, and the MR Crew discuss the ongoing strikes, and the right’s attempt to make it about vaccinations and masking, OAN reminds us that gender is distracting us from solving the crisis in Afghanistan (?), and John from San Antonio gives some killer updates ahead of tomorrow’s elections across the US. They also chat Michael Flynn and blackmail, two topics never too far apart, Angel from Jersey discusses NJ’s conservative consciousness, and Anthony from Ohio talks Forbes surprisingly misappropriating Adam Smith to put down unions. There’s also conversation on the fall of empire and the disillusionment with democratic voters, plus, your calls and IMs!

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