[Marxism] Trawling the oceans to exhaustion
sartesian at earthlink.net
Tue Jul 8 15:10:00 MDT 2008
Thanks for the reply. Wonder if you could respond to some questions I had
about your post on cheap fossil fuels? I'll paste them here.
1. cheap energy and fossil fuels: Is there evidence that the actual costs
of production of "fossil fuels," coal/oil/gas, have increased to the point
that those increases are behind the increased spot market prices of oil?
2. Is it impossible or too expensive to access greater stores of
not-yet-tapped hydrocarbon energy-- i.e. methyl hydrates, to support social
3. When you argue that living standards cannot be maintained, do you mean
that the general levels of social indicators that are pointed to with
differing amounts of pride by advanced countries-- literacy, death in
childbirth, infant mortality, life expectancy, access to clean drinking
water and adequate sanitation facilities, cannot be maintained in those
countries much less achieved in less developed countries?
4. What is the carrying capacity of the earth and how is that derived?
5. And I offer some opinions:
population growth rates decline with development and this leads me to
believe that there aren't too many people on the planet, there are too many
poor people on the planet, and too many capitalists (any number greater than
0 being too many)
much of the energy consumed on earth is from biomass, that this biomass
consumption is associated with less developed areas where living standards
are not just lower, but barely living standards, that hydrocarbon based
fuels represent much greater efficiency than biomass. I personally conclude
from this that development, rational socially useful development can be more
sustainable, more "friendly" to all life than enforced poverty.
Finally, if we don't have enough time to institute socialism, who is going
to make the rational decisions required to save the planet and all living
things? I think, unfortunately, you will find yourself appealing to some
notion of an "enlightened bourgeoisie" when history shows us that there is
not and cannot be any such thing.
Who for example is going to tell and enforce upon women the "1 child per"
rule? Why would you even phrase it that way? Why not 1 child per man?This
is not just a question of language-- it's the social content of the world in
which we live creeping into the best of intentions-- where somehow it's
women and their reproductive abilities that have to be controlled, but ever
so rationally, by.... the ever so rational men who have, it can argued,
cocked things up royally.
And what happens if the child dies, because we have cut back on the energy
required for sanitary and safe childbirth and child rearing? What happens
if the woman dies because of that?
The problem is that, in my opinion, these arguments for rationally "reduced"
living standards require, at the bottom line, draconian and irrational forms
and organs for enforcement.
Now as far as fishing goes-- Monbiot certainly takes the EU to task for its
subsidy stupidity, but he never ever mentions the words profit; he never
point to the evolution of the fishing fleet with bigger holds, bigger
capital requirements, but actual falling productivity, causing the
industrial fishers to scour more bottoms in greater areas; he never points
out how the big fleets drive the fishing communities along the coasts of
Africa, Asia, literally out of business forcing the migration of those
people to Europe where they can be ruthlessly exploited and then kicked out;
but he does take the time to state how we should be indifferent to those
fishing individuals and units that face ruin due to the high price of
diesel. More than indifferent, we should positively welcome their demise.
And who is going to benefit from that? The fish? Probably not as the
biggest fleets will simply occupy additional space, extend their nets ever
Yes petroleum powers 98% of the transportation in the US, and it is a
critical component in operating capital intensive equipment efficiently.
But what indication is there that the oil is running out? Are lifting
costs, which are actual production costs plus taxes and royalties, going
through the roof? Not hardly. Not even in the US, where the EIA estimates
lifting costs are about $8.32 barrel, with 46% of that being taxes.
What about finding costs, the money spent in booking every new barrel of
reserves. Those have quadrupled in the last few years, mostly because oil
majors have booked few new reserves based on new finds, directing spending
(and reduced spending it has been) towards development of existing, claimed
And that's just oil. What about natural gas? Is there a looming shortage
of that, too? Hardly. And coal?
It is not a shortage of oil that drives this process and this price
inflation, it is in fact overproduction that drives it; as it drove housing;
as it drove fiber optics and trucks, and... shipping.
Monbiot makes no distinction between individual or small, albeit capitalist,
fishing enterprises and the large fleets. That is not impeccable logic to
----- Original Message -----
From: "ehrbar" <ehrbar at lists.econ.utah.edu>
To: <sartesian at earthlink.net>
Sent: Tuesday, July 08, 2008 11:06 AM
Subject: Re: [Marxism] Trawling the oceans to exhaustion
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