[Marxism] After the oil is gone

rrubinelli rrubinelli at earthlink.net
Sun May 15 00:59:28 MDT 2005

If you look closely at the exchanges, and Mark's longer pieces on peak
oil, you will find Mark explicitly rejecting an "economic" analysis of
the so called oil crisis.   His critique, such as it is, of capital's
role or "contribution" to the inevitable and rapidly approaching
depletion, a depletion that exists independent of the social
configuration of labor and property, is that profit makes capital
incapable of responding to the event.

The four great OPEC initiated events, 1974 price spike, 1979-81 price
spike, 1986 price break, 1999 price spike are not products of depletion
or impending exhaustion of supplies, but rather results of
overproduction and declining rates of profit.

We start with objective conditions?  Certainly, but to posit a known,
positive natural limit as the explanation for social events, when indeed
that natural limit has been changed frequently by those very same people
claiming to know its absolute dimensions, is more than suspect.  It's
presenting historical ignorance as "objective conditions," "scientific
truth," etc.

If you look at production patterns and reserve estimates in most
countries, they do not follow the course set out by the Hubbertists.
Only 8 of 51 non-OECD counties production/reserve histories even
approximate the famous Hubbert peak bell-shaped curve.

Look at Mexico or Venezuela's history in this regard.

North Sea production actually has had two peaks in 1990s, despite
predictions that steady decline would begin after 1989.  And estimates
are that 50% of proven reserves remain left behind as the oil majors
sell their holdings, and move on to cheaper, newer fields.

Reserves are an economic, not a geological category.  By definition.
You can look it up.  It, proven reserves,  refers a given amount of oil
recoverable in a given time, at a given cost, with the technology
currently available.  That is a social definition, not a geological

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