Ship’s Log: Day Thirty (Melbourne to Tilbury)

Thirtieth day of the voyage: 130 for the pilot on the long run into Philadelphia, arriving 7.5 hours later. Departure at 2300 for the run back down the Delaware.

One need only see the string of oil refineries on the eight hour run up the Delaware – I counted more than a dozen – and the stream of oil tankers to see how heavily dependent the USA is on oil. And that was on but one river. This country is severely fucked without oil.

Which led me to a second thought that first struck me in the middle of the Pacific: what of the much-vaunted volatilisation of the market? This is supposedly the generation of wealth out speculation on finances and the money markets, the removal of any material base in the old sense for the generation of surplus value (which winds up being profit most of the time). One has only to travel on a medium-sized freighter like this one, or perhaps a tanker, in order to see the hard, physical reality of the stuff unloaded and loaded at each port, the sheer volume that this one ship can hold.

Multiply by hundreds and thousands of ships like this, as well as the oil tankers and gas tankers and coal bunkers, plying the world’s trade routes … they are as concrete as ever and those who work on them and for them are as exploited as ever.

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