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Out of StockThe Warehouse in the History of Capitalism$
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Dara Orenstein

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780226662879

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226663067.001.0001

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Imperium in Imperio: The Freihafen, the Zollverein, and the Empire of Logistics

Imperium in Imperio: The Freihafen, the Zollverein, and the Empire of Logistics

(p.105) Chapter Three Imperium in Imperio: The Freihafen, the Zollverein, and the Empire of Logistics
Out of Stock

Dara Orenstein

University of Chicago Press

The constraints of the warehousing system in the United States spurred on demands for an alternative to the bonded warehouse. For forty years merchants and real estate developers in port cities from Seattle to Boston campaigned, accordingly, for the spatial form of the free zone, the allure of which is the focus of this chapter. Most often associated with the Freihafen of Hamburg, Germany, the free zone was an update of the free port, the port city accessible to all comers during the age of mercantilism. The free zone rationalized the space of the free port into an extraterritorial enclave—a fenced-in parcel of land set aside strictly for the free movement of capital, not labor. It sat outside the customs territory or Zollverein of the nation-state that hosted it. By this logic, it was a “handmaiden of protectionism,” serving as a “vestibule” outside the tariff wall rather than as an open door. Free zones grew popular in Europe and Latin America especially after World War I, nodes of the emergent infrastructure of globalization. The United States at long last adopted the model during the New Deal in the guise of the Foreign-Trade Zones Act of 1934.

Keywords:   real estate developers, free zone, Hamburg, Germany, free port, mercantilism, extraterritoriality, customs territory, protectionism, infrastructure, New Deal

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