Matthew Rochat


I examine how the process of primitive accumulation has led to evolving forms of dispossession and exploitation carried out by multinational corporations in the rubber industry. After a brief review of relevant literature, I outline a novel analytical approach to multinational corporations engaged in natural resource extraction, referred to as the Parasitic Extraction Model. I then demonstrate this approach using three case studies. The first, Leopold II’s Congo, showcases the barbaric underpinnings of primitive accumulation in the rubber industry in its crudest form. The subsequent section shifts to the interwar period with Fordlândia in the Brazilian Amazon where I analyze the increasingly imperceptible mechanisms of dispossession and exploitation employed by the Ford Motor Company. The final case looks at Firestone in Liberia, which bears a striking resemblance to the case of Fordlândia. Despite an abundance of similarities, the fates of the two MNCs diverged significantly. I compare the two cases using a most similar systems design and explain the divergence between the two outcomes.