Owned by the Indian billionaire Lakshmi Mittal, ArcelorMittal is the world’s largest steel producer—creating some 93 billion USD of revenue as of 2011. Granted, steel is an essential building block of the modern world yet ArcelorMittal’s obscene profit margins do raise the question of “how are you possibly making this much money?”
Turns out, profitability margins are greatly aided by the economic pillaging and environmental destruction of a still-recovering-from-war southeastern European locale: Bosnia-Herzegovina.
The central-Bosnian city of Zenica has for decades been one of the industrial centers of the region. The steel mills in the area, prior to the outbreak of the 1992-1995 war, employed some 25,000 people—a shining beacon of the Yugoslav state’s productive capacities. Today, owned by ArcelorMittal, that number is just over 3000—with the company actually looking to downsize even further, according to local union organizers.
Yet the story here is not (so much) about the bargain-bin prices at which foreign multinationals have purchased massive industrial complexes across the former Yugoslavia—often only to dismantle and sell them off in parts.
No, the bigger story is about the massive ecological disaster zone that the company has transformed Zenica and its steel mills into, which, even at the height of their Yugoslav-era production, did not produce a fraction of the pollution they do today. The footage speaks for itself. Continue reading Why does ArcelorMittal hate Bosnia?→
De-Spinning the Political and Re-Spinning it for Social, Economic and Political Justice