[Marxism] Does Peak Oil Theory Help the Bourgeoisie?

bauerly at yorku.ca bauerly at yorku.ca
Tue Jun 10 19:57:38 MDT 2008

Far from the critique of capitalism some posit it as, does Peak oil theory
actually help capitalism?  Numerous testimonies by 'industry experts' at the
recent CFTC hearings and the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and
Transportation claimed that the problems of high oil prices were based on
fundamental issues of supply and demand.  Reed Construction Data Chief
Economist Jim Haughey said it is implausible that the trading and storage
activities of speculators accounts for a substantial share of the recent uptick
in oil and gas prices. “There are fundamental reasons for rapidly rising oil
prices: more demand in the developing world, a drawdown of world oil
inventories in the last few years,and an unexpectedly large amount of supply
and shipping disruption,” explained Haughey. Another reason Haughey cited is
the refusal to drill known oil reserves in the U.S., which is prompted by
environmental concerns....

Also, the public perception that we are past peak adds legitimacy to the rising
prices and the desire to drill more and develop other energy sources('clean'
coal, nuclear...), not to mention send more investors in and increase the
financial bubble.

The theory of peak oil does not place capitalist social property relations at
the heart of the problem.  It instead takes exchange value, and supply and
demand based on exchange value to create a peak of 'cheap' oil, at face value. 
It lacks Marx's key insight into the obfuscatory capacity of bourgeois political
economy and by doing so helps to obfuscate the root of the problem.


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