Oil and Overproduction

D OC donaloc at hotmail.com
Tue Jan 14 04:09:40 MST 2003

I have followed the debate on this subject with interest. Unfortunately,
I’ve been a little too busy to participate and having to email from my
hotmail account has definitely reduced my tendency to post.

I was interested in the statistics posed and felt that the debate was quite
informative. It is unfortunate that I did not get to post until after the
horse was pronounced dead but I hope that perhaps these comments will serve
to perhaps summarise (from my own perspective).

The first thing I noted was that Mark Jones statistical basis was strong –
clearly he has proven the scientific consensus that the natural limit on
oil’s availability is being neared. Having said that I was very
uncomfortable with Mark’s apparent outright dismissal of alternative forms
of energy. If he could forward me details I would be very interested – I am
about to start work on a paper on Energy and would be keen to obtain any
such information. Louis Proyect also was very harsh in relation to
hydroelectricity – something which supplies a large proportion of Irish
electricity at present.

I also would be critical of the exclusion of any consideration of Natural
Gas from an attempt at a worldwide analysis – and what about coal? Natural
Gas is becoming much more significant to European consumers as it is much
more available and relatively untapped. The possibilities of
hydrogen-powered automobiles were ignored – okay so it costs about 6 times
more just now – but that will come down dramatically with improvements in
technology. Things do not have to be that bad, not necessarily anyway.

I was very surprised by Mark’s linkage of oil production shortages in the
USSR with the fall of 1991 – something I haven’t came across before. Perhaps
he can point me to some details?

On the other hand, David’s arguments for the primacy of return on investment
over long-term reserves were economistic. Sure, we can all apply Marx’s
theory of crisis but we have also to recognise that the superstructure has a
definite capability to make strategic decisions which act outside the
parameters of the immediate demands of capital. In effect, the state can
distort the operation of the pure market forces modelled by Marx in his
equilibrium model. To ignore this is to ignore the whole rationale for
imperialist geo-politics. Does this mean that the imperialists can escape
the logical outworkings of their own system – no, but it does mean that they
can reform it to maximise their own period of benefit.

One point which I was surprised no-one raised was the alleged ability of the
US to use all external supplies of oil up while conserving the bulk of that
on their own territory. Is this true? And if so, doesn’t this material fact
directly contradict the simplistic economism of the predominance of RoI over
longer-term strategic oil management.

Must go, a world to win,


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