dms dmschanoes at earthlink.net
Mon Aug 11 08:37:18 MDT 2003

----- Original Message -----
From: "Jon Flanders" <jonathan.flanders at verizon.net>
To: <marxism at lists.panix.com>
Sent: Sunday, August 10, 2003 8:30 PM
Subject: Re: Oil

> Perhaps  growing scarcity has now made expensive deep-water drilling
> affordable, even with OPEC pumping flat out? The history of the oil
> industry has been boom and bust, most recently illustrated in 1998. You
> give the corporations and OPEC too much credit for control of the
> market.

Comrade,  there is no growing scarcity, and OPEC is NOT pumping flat out.
OPEC is at most pumping at 90%.
As for growing scarcity, it does not exist, oil consumption is down for this
year.  When you talk about growing scarcity and the Hubbert analysis you are
projecting at least 10 years to the future (unless you're with the Colorado
School of Mines group whose great leader said here comes the shortage in
1999, er, I mean 2000, check that 2003).

Markets do not determine prices 10 years in advance.  The very fact of
capitalist production makes it impossible for the market to act in that

Markets by the very nature of exchange respond to the here and now, not what
might be in 10 years.

And more than that, why in 1999-2003, when in 1998 the very same markets
with the very same information were pricing oil at $10/barrel?  What causes
the change?
Did the bourgeoisie suddenly decide to read Laherrere's reports that they
pay so much for?

The problem truly with the scarcity analysis is that it can't account for
history, development, change.

> With these heavily armed and naval/air backed troops dying every day on
> the ground in Iraq  civilian oil technicians wouldn't stand much of a
> chance. Oil-men want to make money, not die face down in the desert. The
> blitzkrieg is over now; the sniper and the rocket-propelled grenade
> rule.

The oil fields in north and south have been relatively secure from attack.
And if the crisis of scarcity was that dramatic and close at hand, the US
would bring forces to the Vietnam level in a heartbeat.

Petroleum companies have shown tremendous willingness to have their
employees risk physical harm in other regions of the world-- Indonesia,
Nigeria, Angola,  Russia, Colombia to mention a few.

Money talks, and if the money was there for the making, the petroleum
companies would be there, replacing bodies like we replace old socks.


> I am presupposing that the oil men in the administration know that the
> black stuff is getting scarce. That's why they want to control Iraq. Of
> course wanting in accomplishing are not necessarily the same thing.

My position is that the war is about overproduction and not control of a
resource.  This is capitalism we are dealing with.  Oil production is
commodity production, subject to the same destructive metabolism of any/all
commodity production.

To presume that there is a uniformity of belief among the oil men in
government regarding scarcity when there is NO such uniformity of belief in
the industry itself is really untenable.


More information about the Marxism mailing list