[Marxism] a hill of reified beans Was: Does Peak Oil Theory Help the Bourgeoisie?

Craig Brozefsky craig at red-bean.com
Wed Jun 11 11:00:26 MDT 2008

On Wed, Jun 11, 2008 at 10:00 AM,  <bauerly at yorku.ca> wrote:
> Global Warming and Rainforest Destruction theories are not based on neoclassical
> theories of supply and demand equilibrium and therefore, do not reify the market
> as a natural non-political entity.

POT talks about what happens to the price of oil as it becomes more
expensive to extract.  I don't see how somehow this theory is going to
stop people from recognizing the politics of the oil market.

> Peak Oil theory masks the profit seeking and
> class power dynamics that created and maintain the social order, that caused the
> 'crisis', behind individual, or Asian, consumption that creates a rise in demand
> and a supply shortage.  It goes no deeper, and impedes a deeper analysis, than
> the working out of natural markets through its reliance on neoclassical
> economic theory.

I agree with your description of POT.  However, my experience with POT
advocates, and how POT is used, does not jive with your assertion that
it somehow blocks any deeper analysis of capitlaist production.
Having talked with hundreds of Greens, cycling advocates, public
transportation advocates, food system advocates --my impression is
that they deploy POT to make the link between rising price of oil, and
it's nature as a finite resource, but then their analysis extends
beyond that into why is it that our transportation infrastructure is
so dependent upon oil (because it was structured by oil and auto
capitalists), or why our food system is so sensitive to oil prices
(because it was structured by industrial farming) etc...

I see no problem with using neoclassical economic theory to describe
the behavior of a price in a market, such as peak oil, nor do I think
it poisons your mind and stops you from thinking further.

> I am not denying the finitude of oil, but the causes of human society reaching
> that end.  The real danger is in aiding the bourgeoisie in its effort to
> overcome the crisis and to create a new and deeper round of commodification
> through profit seeking.  If it were once radical to claim a limit to the
> exploitation of the natural environment, that time has now passed.  The most
> ardent green constituents are now capitalists.

So?  Since when has being right suddenly made you wrong when the "bad
guys" start adjusting their rhetoric in recognition of the correctness
of your position?  Oh, when your job is peddling ideas, because then
your market gets swamped with newcomers and knock-offs.

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