Planetary Mine – Territories of Extraction under Late Capitalism

Martín Arboleda
Level: advanced
Publisher: Verso Books
Perspective: Other
Topic: Capitalism, Emerging economies, resources, environment & climate
page count: 288 pages


Planetary Mine rethinks the politics and territoriality of resource extraction, especially as the mining industry becomes reorganized in the form of logistical networks, and East Asian economies emerge as the new pivot of the capitalist world-system. Through an exploration of the ways in which mines in the Atacama Desert of Chile—the driest in the world—have become intermingled with an expanding constellation of megacities, ports, banks, and factories across East Asia, the book rethinks uneven geographical development in the era of supply chain capitalism. Arguing that extraction entails much more than the mere spatiality of mine shafts and pits, Planetary Mine points towards the expanding webs of infrastructure, of labor, of finance, and of struggle, that drive resource-based industries in the twenty-first century.

Book summary

In this new book, Arboleda discusses several contemporary phenomenon like mechanization of mining, the emergence of Global Value Chains, especially in East Asia, and the use of state violence to weave an interesting and compelling story of extraction and exploitation of natural resources. However, this is not just a book about the political economy of research extraction in Chile in particular and Latin America, generally, but it uses resource extraction as an analytical entry point to theorize uneven geographical development. This is done in this book in the tradition of the World Systems approach, though it claims to break with the tradition of dependency theory and uneven exchange, especially insofar as Arboleda emphasizes that the processes outlined transcend national economies and are based on a global class antagonism. This book presents an understanding of imperialism as one of the forms in which global value relations assert themselves. Planetary Mines is a must-read for a fresh examination of the global inequality and the asymmetric relationships along the global production assembly line. 


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