Out of StockThe Warehouse in the History of Capitalism

Out of StockThe Warehouse in the History of Capitalism

Dara Orenstein

Print publication date: 2020

ISBN: 9780226662879

Publisher: University of Chicago Press


This book is an account of that most generic and underappreciated site in American commerce and industry: the warehouse. It traces the progression from the nineteenth century's bonded warehouses to today's foreign-trade zones, enclaves of warehouses and factories where goods can be simultaneously on US soil and off US customs territory. These zones--nearly 800 of which are scattered across the country, and which constitute a significant if little-known subset of the 3,000 that dot the world--anchor the book because they are emblematic of why warehouses have begun to supplant factories in the age of Amazon and Walmart. Circulation is so crucial to the logistics of how and where goods are made that it is increasingly inseparable from production, to the point that warehouses are now some of the most pivotal spaces of global capitalism. Drawing from cultural geography, cultural history, and political economy, Out of Stock demonstrates the centrality of warehouses for corporations, workers, cities, and empires.