ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Natural Resources and Capitalist Frontiers

The late 20th century saw the creation of new 'resource frontiers' in every corner of the world. Made possible by cold war militarisation of the third world and the growing power of corporate transnationalism, resource frontiers grew up where entrepreneurs and armies were able to disengage nature from its previous ecologies, making the natural resources that bureaucrats and generals could offer as corporate raw material. From a distance, these new resource frontiers appeared as the 'discovery' of global supplies in forests, tundras, coastal seas, or mountain fastnesses. Up close, they replaced existing systems of human access and livelihood and ecological dynamics of replenishment with the cultural apparatus of capitalist expansion. This essay explores the making of a resource frontier in the eastern part of South Kalimantan, Indonesia, in the 1990s.

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