The annihilation of time by space: pluri-temporal strategies of capitalist circulation

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2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This paper contributes to thinking about the circulation of commodities across global supply chains by considering moments when circulation is intentionally slowed down for the purpose of capital accumulation. I examine oil tank farms at sites such as Cushing, OK, which act as a spatial fix allowing producers and speculators to place millions of barrels into storage during moments of overproduction. Oil storage is largely driven by futures markets. When prices are low, speculators store oil in order to derive higher profits by selling their product at a later date – a strategy that I describe as the annihilation of time by space. However, as tanks fill up, the crisis of overproduction begins to express itself as a shortage of storage capacity. In the absence of tank space, speculators have turned to supply chain infrastructures such as railcars and oil tankers as creative storage alternatives. Any empty space remaining in tanks becomes highly valued and traded or speculated upon as its own commodity. Ultimately, this paper offers a corrective to recent literature on global capitalist supply chains by demonstrating that capital accumulation relies not only on the speedy movement of commodities across global space; rather, capital employs pluri-temporal strategies of circulation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)110-128
JournalEnvironment and Planning E: Nature and Space
Volume2
Issue number1
Early online date19 Dec 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2019

Keywords

  • Supply chains
  • Logistics
  • Oil
  • Pipelines
  • Marx
  • Circulation

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