dms dmschanoes at earthlink.net
Sat Aug 9 18:35:17 MDT 2003

----- Original Message -----
From: "Louis Proyect" <lnp3 at panix.com>
To: <marxism at lists.panix.com>
Sent: Saturday, August 09, 2003 1:51 PM
Subject: Re: Oil

Indeed, Mark Jones passing was a sad event.  But I am hoping that someone on
the list, one of his many admirers, will pick up the torch and pursue this
argument about scarcity.

I didn't know about Mark's illness at first,and you certainly wouldn't have
been able tell he was ill from his initial comment to me "You don't know
what you're talking about."  I have encountered that usually from people who
look forward to carry the argument through to completion, wherever that
might take the parties.  But after that Mark's postings tended, on the oil
issue, towards, in my opinion, apocolyptic visions where the world was out
of oil.  I thought that worthy of science fiction movies not Marxist
analysis.  And at one point, Mark even stated that he wasn't sure that the
analysis of commodity production, and the analysis of overproduction even
applied to oil.  Which kind of makes it hard to talk about.

I guess the fact that as Louis says, nobody felt a need to debate about
these issues with Mark who was regarded as sort of the source on all such
matters, made my "deviation" seem so disruptive, so inflammatory, provoking
many more comments of the "You don't know what you're talking about" type.
Which was OK by me, I cheerfully accept all attacks as long as no one
whimpers when the response is equally vigorous.

Be that as it may, the war in Iraq, the movement of the price of oil, the
role of OPEC can and has been explained, and predicted through Marxist
analysis of the rate of profit and overproduction.  The Hubbertist
predictions, where they have been associated with specific dates, have all
failed, after the initial success in predicting the fall off in US
continental production.

And most importantly, two things: 1. the oil industry is a capitalist
industry, and as such it has absolutely no interest in the production of
oil.  It's only interest is in the aggrandizement of profit.  It's interest
is money  2. Proven reserves is not a geological nor asocial scientific
category-- the industry defines it as a given quantity of oil that can be
produced with today's technology at today's prices in a specific timeframe
(usually 10-20 years) and AT AN ESTABLISHED LEVEL OF PROFIT.

Thus capital sets the terms of its immanent critique.


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