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Swedish Steel and Global Resource Colonialism: Sandviken's Quest for Turkish Chromium, 1925-1950
Philosophy and History, KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Philosophy and History of Technology, History of Science, Technology and Environment.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-9558-4621
Philosophy and History, KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Philosophy and History of Technology, History of Science, Technology and Environment.
Philosophy and History, KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Philosophy and History of Technology, History of Science, Technology and Environment.
2017 (English)In: Scandinavian Economic History Review, ISSN 0358-5522, E-ISSN 1750-2837, Vol. 65, no 3, 307-325 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This article analyses Swedish industry’s attempts to secure strategic raw materials in an era of global resource colonialism. More precisely, it tells the story of how Sandvikens Jernverk – a leading Swedish steel producer – set out to secure its need for chromium ore during the Interwar Era. Up to the late 1920s, Sandviken sourced its chromium from British and French colonies. However, the company feared the British Empire’s growing dominance in the global chromium ore market. In 1928, then, Sandviken joined forces with several other Swedish steel producers, forming a consortium that, with ample help from Swedish foreign policy actors, managed to establish an independent source of chromium ore in Turkey. This project, however, which took the form of an Istanbul-based mining company, made big losses and was abandoned after only a few years. The project failed because of changes in the world chromium market, the global economic crisis, conflicts with the company’s Turkey-based managing director and the Swedish reluctance to scale up mining in such a way that the chromium ore might compete with Rhodesian, New Caledonian and Baluchistani ore.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Routledge, 2017. Vol. 65, no 3, 307-325 p.
Keyword [en]
Resource scarcity, strategic metals, chromium, colonialism, Swedish-Turkish relations
National Category
History of Technology
Research subject
History of Science, Technology and Environment
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-215139DOI: 10.1080/03585522.2017.1369152Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85029414617OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-215139DiVA: diva2:1146616
Projects
Sweden and the origins of global resource colonialism
Note

QC 20171011

Available from: 2017-10-03 Created: 2017-10-03 Last updated: 2017-12-06Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. The Specter of Scarcity: Experiencing and Coping with Metal Shortages, 1870-2015
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The Specter of Scarcity: Experiencing and Coping with Metal Shortages, 1870-2015
2017 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

In spite of an ever-growing supply of metals, actors have long feared metal shortages. This thesis – departing from an understanding that metals scarcity is not an objective geological fact, but an experience, a fear of a shortage – explores why business and state actors have experienced metals as scarce and how they coped with scarcity from 1870 to 2015.

The underlying reasons for scarcity experiences originated in high prices, a lack of substitutes, domestic unavailability, limited infrastructure and increased demand. In the view of businesses and the state, a shortage of metals could hinder successful industrialization. Defining metals as scarce was a first step in their attempts to ensure access through exploration, recycling, substitution, and trade agreements.

This dissertation presents five case studies which provide insights into three selected aspects of metals scarcity that have been overlooked in previous studies. First, while small countries experienced and coped with metals scarcity in a similar way to large nations, they were more vulnerable because of their dependence on transnational flows controlled by larger countries. Yet if they remained neutral in international conflicts, they could enjoy other opportunities to import resources than their larger rivals. Second, industries experienced metals scarcity before World War I; with the onset of the Second Industrial Revolution, at the very latest, new technologies were often dependent on metals which had never before been used commercially – there were not yet any extraction systems in place. However, once these metals began to circulate, state actors became aware of the international traffic and began to classify certain metals as critical. Thirdly, technological change has affected – and been affected by – metals scarcity. If a metal was scarce, manufacturers were likely to embark on a different path to production. Inversely, sometimes new technologies were able to alleviate perceptions of scarcity.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: KTH Royal Institute of Technology, 2017. 106 p.
Series
TRITA-HOT, ISSN 0349-2842 ; 2075
Keyword
scarcity, critical metals, Sweden, small countries, strategic metals, metal shortages, history of technology, experiences of scarcity, coping with shortages, technological trends, World War I, resource crisis, construction of resources.
National Category
History of Technology
Research subject
History of Science, Technology and Environment
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-219409 (URN)978-91-7729-610-2 (ISBN)
Public defence
2018-01-19, F3, Lindstedtsvägen 26, Stockholm, 10:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

QC 20171206

Available from: 2017-12-06 Created: 2017-12-05 Last updated: 2017-12-06Bibliographically approved

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