The export processing or free trade zones that have been built since the 1960s across Central America and the Caribbean, north Africa and the Gulf states, and South and Southeast Asia have emerged as uniquely charged objects of anticipation—hope, conviction, and anxiety—about the capitalist future as much as sites of speculative investment in financial futures. This essay sets out to broaden our engagement of the diverse futures invested in these large-scale industrial infrastructure projects by examining the economy of anticipation upon which they are built.

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