The smallest monetary unit of “globalization” in Allan Sekula’s photographic exploration of maritime work, Fish Story, is the container. World trade takes place to the rhythm of container shipping.

The “low-end globalization” of small independent traders, as Hong Kong researcher Gordon Mathews calls them, is however calculated in individual packets, tightly taped-up bundles or cardboard boxes. The “suitcase traders” coming from Africa to Hong Kong or Guangzhou fill their bags with 32 kilograms of smartphones made in China or ship boxes and bundles as general cargo in order to then sell them for a profit at markets in their home countries.

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