Oil and overproduction 3

David Schanoes dmsch at attglobal.net
Mon Jan 13 05:29:01 MST 2003


No, I am not using theory to prove the facts.  What Louis discovered is that
recently, the oil establishment was backing away from its earlier jubilation
and elation and over its estimated size of the Caspian fields.  To me that
would indicate that the oil industry's estimating process is as cyclical as
its profits, and this pullback is part and part parcel of the general
pullback in capital projects that accompanies economic contraction.

In Mark's analyses, one will search in vain for the significance of surplus
value, which of course is the fulcrum for Marxist analysis.  Mark will and
did say the era of "resource wars" has started, and I believe his analysis
leads him, compels him to substitute resource war for class war.

I say it's not about the size of the resources, it's about the mode of
production.  Proclamations about the end to oil were made in 73, 79 and the
early 80s when in fact, surpluses of oil were being produced, and in such
quantity that tankers were being used as floating warehouses to maintain the
market price by holding oil off the markets.

Mark also states that the decade long recession in Japan, the collapse of
the USSR, and the current struggle in Venezuela are indications, or results,
of the worldwide energy crisis.  That notion really ignores the reality of
Japan's economy, it's historically lower ratio of profit thant the US's, the
use of real estate assets to collateralize loans to industry and earnings of
industry, and most importantly, the US imposed Plaza accords that forced the
appreciation of the yen, the tremendous movement of Japanese financial
capital into the emerging economies of Asia, the tremendous overproduction
in those economies and their collapse, leaving Japan with even
more-nonperforming debt.

The collapse of the USSR is no more a manifestation of an oil shortage than
the attacks on living standards in the US and LA in the 70s, 80s, and even
90s are.    It's all about surplus value and profit.

Mark does mention that natural gas supplies in the former USSR are now "more
uncertain."  Absolutely, but that is a social uncertainty based on the
extreme economic privation that has taken place in recent years, the
dismantling of the productive apparatus, and the 50% decline in GDP.

And no one should confuse the class war in Venezuela with a resource war.

In Mark's message about the use of hydrocarbon based fertilizers in
agriculture there is more than an echo of Malthus when he refers to
"inexorable population growth" and resource war.

As for the notion proposed by Mark that there must be an oil shortage
otherwise the US would not be trying to restructure the Mideast-- well, I
think all you have to do is look at history to see the US trying to
restructure the Mideast, Latin America, Asia, etc. before anybody ever
explored the Caspian Sea for oil, much less reduced estimates of the
reserves.

Is the organization of the means of production as capital, and labor as
wage-labor, the source of the current situation?  Or is it an absolute
shortage of a resource.

That is not a debate about scholarliness.  It's the difference between
scholasticism, the analysis of texts, and the practical development of a
class-conscious program



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