Privilege? I’m a big fan. Containerization? Not so much.

Not, to clarify,  privilege that deprives other people of opportunities. What do you think I am, some kind of sociopath? (1)

What the economists might call non-exculsionary privileges then….Privileges I happened to like especially in the hour of my life I just spent; The privilege of having two feet, and a law to go with them [youtube]. The privilege of being bloody tall and also strong enough to lift a heavy hybrid mountain bike over a locked gate about 7 foot tall, and then climb over safely after it and pedal home. Them kinda privileges will do me just fine, and I say MERCi to the universe for them.
Now, containers are a good thing. You can transport all manner of things. There’s a safety to them (mostly), and a good predictability, toughness and so on. But you have to ask yourself the broader political questions, don’t you, about the process and practice of containerisation? About what is allowed in the box, and who is controlling the cranes that move the pretty little boxes from place to place, depriving the workers of control and an opportunity to scavenge and exchange. (2)

Just sayin’.

(1) Rhetorical question. NO answers on a post-card please.

(2) “These shabbinesses contrasted extraordinarily with the glamorous new world of containerization. neat toy trains slid along gleaming tracks, brightly painted hoists lifted the unfamiliar boxes from the decks of ships directly on to freight trucks and lorries. There were huge grainy photographs of Rotterdam and Yokohama, where experimental container ports already existed, displaying quays in sharp perspectives idyllically devoid of anything as nasty as a docker. There were film displays in tiny curtained-off halls which smelled of Chanel and put Charlie in mind of Soho clip joints, films which showed wide hoists trundling on huge wheels, strange cranes that looked like ladders with rungs missing, and huge ships piled high with thousands and thousands of boxes.

“And best of all there were dolly-birds…”

page 158 of “Nasty, Very” by Julian Rathbone.



About dwighttowers

Below the surface...
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