From time to time I add updates to the latter post; the current post features an update at that post. I have devoted the current post to the update, in order to begin attention to it.
The role of mining in world history, which includes Indigenous history
A March 3, 2017 Guardian article is entitled: “Toronto’s buried history: the dark story of how mining built a city.”
An excerpt reads:
“It was Cobalt that solidified Toronto’s connection to the industry, bringing American and British capital into Canada en masse. In 1906, Ontario’s new Conservative government passed the Mines Act – an open-entry legislation that remains on the books today. This act allows mining companies to lay claim to minerals sitting under virtually all public land, some private land, and First Nations reserves.”
An Oct. 8, 2019 London School of Economics article is entitled: “Book Review: The Global Interior: Mineral Frontiers and American Power by Megan Black.”
An excerpt reads:
Megan Black’s The Global Interior: Mineral Frontiers and American Power reveals a fundamental paradox in American global power—its imperial stature and its anticolonial legacy. From its founding in 1849 to the 1980s, the Department of the Interior has both ensured and obscured this powerful ambiguity. It played a pivotal role in facilitating the extraction of mineral wealth, rolling back environmental regulations and expanding the frontier to the seas and then into space. But the Department also developed water sanitation and irrigation in the Global South, promoted better agricultural methods, geological exploration and conservation programmes for soil, wildlife, forests and rivers. The Interior practised hard and soft power.
Black argues that the Department’s benevolence and conservationist actions were used as covers for the real desire of extracting mineral wealth. ‘The military-industrial complex and culture of consumer abundance converged to intensify federal anxieties about America’s mineral solvency’ (122). The choice of words is apt. Underlying much of this book is a sense of anxiety within American foreign policy—whether it’s the anxiety of white settlers holding onto land in the nineteenth century, fears that Latin America could withhold minerals during World War II or turn communist in the Cold War or the alarm that OPEC states could limit oil and gas production causing a spike in prices. We see that the Interior’s ‘mineral technocracy’ was foundational in maintaining American power projection across the globe.
A second excerpt reads:
This, Black argues, reveals a founding myth of the Department—its denial of a global role. The American West was an internal colony that became a blueprint for the US in Latin America, Africa, Asia, the ocean and even in space. The Interior parcelled out frontier land, administered parts of Alaska and Hawaii before statehood, and the Caribbean and Pacific islands, too. The racial history of conquering the West shaped US legislation and attitudes to Filipinos, Cubans and Puerto Ricans (40). ‘Minerals were thus not just a straightforward motive for expansion, as historians overwhelming suggest; they were also a vital means for it’ (6). Each conquest led onto the next.
A third excerpt reads
The Global Interior comes at an important moment when technology and minerals will play an increasingly vital role in international politics. It can help us understand the thinking behind the suggestion of purchasing Greenland, American anxiety about securing rare-earth elements, the rolling back of environmental regulations for drilling, deforestation and mining in public lands. This book comfortably sits with other historical and international politics scholarship on American foreign policy, and it can contribute to an ongoing debate on the conflictual relationship between environmentalism and capitalism, too.