Peter Grimes interview on Indymedia
Schanoes at MNR.ORG
Wed Nov 5 09:26:44 MST 2003
The distinction is, as all distinctions are, in use-value vs.
exchange-value. While the labor process is "supra-historical" in the
appropriation of nature for the means of subsistence, it is at core a
social process, and thus the social appropriation of nature becomes the
class expropriation of labor for the purpose of exchange.
No economic analysis of the oil industry can be made based on the
production of use values, or the supply of natural resources. The
determining quality is the labor process and the expropriation of that
labor process. If you want to know why the price of oil tripled after
1998 that is an economic, social, inquiry about the production of
exchange values, not an inquiry into the geological history of oil
To argue from the existence or scarcity of use values is to deny the
essential characteristic of social production-- the expropriation of
surplus value-- in favor of ahistorical quantitiies. Thus the
professional oil depletion theorists line up, almost to a man, behind
private property, behind imperial penetration, behind austerity, behind
a status quo they pretend to criticize.
Grimes' argument is little different from that of Malthus, once you
realize that oil is a substitute for food/agriculture, and his use of
logarithmic is a substitute for geometic. Instead of diet for a small
planet substitute fuel rationing for a small planet. And when rationing
is imposed, as it was in 1973-74 with the odd-even gasoline days, that
too will have nothing to do with the supply of use values, and
everything to do with the rate of profit.
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