Re: Cyrus Bina On Differential Oil Rents

From: michael a. lebowitz (mlebowit@SFU.CA)
Date: Tue Apr 22 2003 - 12:37:48 EDT

I appreciate very much Cyrus' comments and estimates. Let me display my
ignorance of rent questions, though. Cyrus dismisses the question of
absolute rent in the following way:

>   2.. Q: Why don't I speak of 'absolute rent' in the oil industry?
>A:  Within the framework of value theory absolute rent belongs to the
>rent-producing sector whose 'organic composition of capital' is below
>'average.' Given the fact that oil industry, as a whole, has
>historically been heavily 'capita intensive,' speaking of 'absolute oil
>rent' is irrelevant.  Those who allude to 'absolute' rent for the oil
>industry are either confused Marxists or if they mean 'monopoly rent'
>are neoclassical economists, in which case are plain wrong.

         I'm in Caracas right now and away from Vol. III (and it's a long
time since I looked at the discussion of absolute rent there), and I
haven't read any of the sources that Cyrus cites. Is the argument that the
marginal wells (which I suspect are in the US) are receiving no rent of any
kind--- ie., that the revenues they generate are purely the result of
exploitation of oil workers? And, if so, are conclusions about the oil
industry in anyway based upon the implicit assumption that the rate of
surplus value in the oil industry is equal to that in industries elsewhere?

         in solidarity,
Michael A. Lebowitz
Professor Emeritus
Economics Department
Simon Fraser University
Burnaby, B.C., Canada V5A 1S6

Currently based in Cuba. Can be reached via:

Michael Lebowitz
Calle 13 No. 504 ent. D y E, Vedado, La Habana, Cuba
Codigo Postal 10 4000
(537) 33 30 75 or 832  21 54
telefax: (537) 33 30 75

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