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“No Such Thing as ‘Can’t’ in the Romanian Railroads”: On Technological Ruination and Creative Maintenance in the Age of Innovation - Adrian Deoancă

AnthroArt by Antropedia / Namla / Ambigrama

Episode notes
At the end of a frustrating work duty, I asked Iosif, the foreman of a Romanian rail repair crew, what would have happened had his team not managed to mend the broken suspension of a cargo wagon. A routine task, replacing the part had turned into a taxing six-hour long toil: the workers had to use scavenged parts, makeshift tools and improvised fixes that one does not learn from any technical handbook. “There’s no such thing as ‘can’t’ in the Romanian Railroads!” he replied. His answer, equally fatalistic and boastful, eloquently captured the plight of state-run rails in Romania, and, more broadly, the ruin of public infrastructures in late capitalism writ large, as well as their resilience. Chronic underinvestment means that aging technologies break more frequently and pose greater risks to cargo, human life, and the environment. Under such circums ...   ...  Read more