[Marxism] Venezuela and ground rent

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Wed May 24 12:27:34 MDT 2017

Spending a lot of time reading Marxist critiques of the Bolivarian 
revolution in Venezuela focused on the problems created by a development 
model centered on the exploitation of ground rent (i.e., oil). 
Ironically, they tend to reference a guy named Juan Inigo who was a 
rather colorful character in the early days of the Marxism list that 
preceded Marxmail. Inigo was notorious for writing very long messages 
that contained stilted attempts at sounding like they were written by 
Marx. This is typical:

"At first, Marx does not present any reason for starting the development 
of the historical specificity of capitalist society from commodities, 
other than the fact that he places them there, not even as a subject, 
but as a mere object. But, as soon as the analysis shows that 
commodities are the unity of use-value and value, the necessity inherent 
in the latter starts to be followed in its development. Commodities 
themselves come into the exposition as they develop their specificity as 
the materialized general social relation among private independent 
producers, their value-form; that is, the process in which society 
allocates its total labor-power among the different concrete modalities 
of labor by representing the socially necessary abstract labor embodied 
in the products of the concrete labors carried out by the independent 
private producers, as the capacity of these products for relating among 
themselves in exchange. In commodity production, material production 
produces, at the same time, the general social relation."

I will be writing something for Counterpunch tomorrow about a lot of 
this but will for now make the point that expecting Venezuela to depart 
from this mode of development is a lot easier said than done. Of course 
it is abc, when you are explaining this to fellow professors in a JSTOR 

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