unanswered questions about rent

From: michael a. lebowitz (mlebowit@SFU.CA)
Date: Thu Jan 01 2004 - 16:46:54 EST

Rakesh has been talking a lot about rent (and recently about Cyrus' work on
this). It reminded me that I'm still in the dark about some theoretical
questions in relation to rent. On 22 April, I responded to Cyrus as follows
but didn't get an answer (he may have missed the question). Maybe, though,
Rakesh could respond./michael

>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?

Michael A. Lebowitz
Professor Emeritus
Economics Department
Simon Fraser University
Burnaby, B.C., Canada V5A 1S6
Office Fax:   (604) 291-5944
Home:   Phone (604) 689-9510

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5 : Mon Jan 05 2004 - 00:00:01 EST