Barter & Petrobarter

‘Barter’, as US anthropologist David Graeber (2011) and others have noted, is not an economic technique that pre-exists capitalism. The commonly assumed teleological subsumption of barter into money, neatly subordinates alternate political economies to the economic metaphysics of the North Atlantic. This should be avoided, as should just about all theoretical subsumptions… Instead, barter should be seen as coeval to other forms of exchange to which it may relate, supplement or stand in opposition. Indeed, Douglas Rogers, another US anthropologist, will speak of “barter articulat[ing] with currency” (2014, p. 133) and in this fashion alludes to the manner in which ‘petrobarter’ may contribute to the making of complex economic realities. This is an important theme that should allow us to show how petrobartering enacts, through the Venezuelan backed Petrocaribe oil energy cooperation program, a particular economic reality. Rogers has for several years studied petrobartering in the Russian context in the early years after the fall of the Soviet Union.

The image makes a direct reference to the exchanges between Venezuela and Nicaragua, and Dominican Republic, where black beans or caraotas and black gold have been at the centre of the novel economic practice between all three countries. In the case of the Dominican Republic, after several years, Venezuela agreed to sell the $4 billion owed to it by the Dominican Republic for $1.7 billion to Goldman Sachs in January 2015.

I have taken the term ‘pertrobartering’ from Rogers and intend to develop in a somehwat broader manner, not only in relation to the Venezuelan case of Petrocaribe, where exchanges are clearly visible, and barter is more or less spoken about in direct terms, but also with reference to the now defunct Ecuadorean case of the Yasuní-ITT Initiative, where less visible ane controversial exchanges premised on oil where also at stake.

For its original formulation, see Douglas Rogers, “Petrobarter: Oil, Inequality, and the Political Imagination in and after the Cold War,” Current Anthropology 55 (2014), 131-153.


PhD Course on Interconnections of Finance and Security

A course organised by the Research School on Peace and Conflict and the SOURCE Societal Security Network

This does look good:

Research School on Peace and Conflict invites applications for the course Interconnections of Finance and Security, 8th -10th October 2015. The course is organized by Nina Boy (PRIO). Course lecturers include Marieke de Goede (University of Amsterdam), Martijn Konings (University of Sydney), Daniela Gabor (University of the West of England), Andreas Langenohl (Justus Liebig University Giessen) and Emily Gilbert (University of Toronto).

The course presents the state-of-the-art of the finance-security literature and features guest lectures by some of the leading scholars in this emerging field. The cross-disciplinary problematic will be relevant for graduate students in the disciplines of security studies, international political economy, international political sociology, economic geography and cultural studies. The course features a roundtable on conceptualizing finance-security relations, offering participants the possibility to follow and contribute to cutting-edge discussions.

The deadline for applications is 20th July 2015. For further information about the course program and admission, please visit the research school course page.

The call was sent by Maral Mirshahi, the Administrative Coordinator of the Research School on Peace and Conflict at the Peace Research Institute Oslo