Oil and overproduction 3

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Mon Jan 13 07:55:29 MST 2003

David Schanoes wrote:
> 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.

David, although your point of view is valuable as a Marxism list
subscriber, your arguments would be more compelling if you could cite an
independent expert rather than giving your own opinion in "To me it
would indicate" fashion.

> 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.

What special insights do you think you have about surplus value that are
lost on Mark Jones? He was a founding editor of Capital and Class. What
exactly are your credentials. In case you haven't noticed, Marxmail
subscribers do not try to lecture other subscribers on the abc's of
Marxism. We understand the labor theory of value here.

> 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.

You cannot make this kind of distinction between resource availability
and the mode of production. Marx's v. 3 of Capital is preoccupied with
the disappearance of fertile soil in Europe. Do you think he was a
Malthusian for dwelling on this problem, which--parathentically--has
never been truly resolved.

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

Once again, a false dichotomy. WWII was fundamentally a war over oil, as
Germany attacked Eastern Europe to gain control over oil fields that
would allow the industrial infrastructure to remain viable. Japan
attacked Pearl Harbor not longer after the USA declared an oil embargo.

> 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.

See above.

> 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.

It is both, but let's leave the abc's of Marxism for other email lists.
This is an advanced seminar and it presumes a prior understanding of
such matters before a student can be enrolled.

> 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

We are historical materialists here. You'd better supply some *material*
if you want to be taken seriously. Your first post had some of that, but
more recent posts have been declarations of Marxist verities that have
about as much value as a May Day speech.


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