An excerpt from Rose George’s new book, Ninety Percent of Everything on the current state of the shipping industry, which often gets underreported despite it driving our global economy:

“Yet the invisibility is useful, too. There are few industries as defiantly opaque as shipping. Even offshore bankers have not developed a system as intricately elusive as the flag of convenience, under which ships can fly the flag of a state that has nothing to do with its owner, cargo, crew, or route. Look at the backside of boats and you will see home ports of Panama City and Monrovia, not Le Havre or Hamburg, but neither crew nor ship will have ever been to Liberia or Mongolia, a landlocked country that nonetheless has a shipping fleet. For the International Chamber of Shipping, which thinks ‘flags of convenience’ too pejorative a term (it prefers the sanitized ‘open registries’), there is ‘nothing inherently wrong’ with this system. A former U.S. Coast Guard commander preferred to call it ‘managed anarchy.’”