Re: unanswered questions about rent

From: michael a. lebowitz (mlebowit@SFU.CA)
Date: Tue Jan 06 2004 - 13:46:06 EST

At 01:31 02/01/2004, Paul Zaremba wrote:
>Michael, I believe the issue is 'differential' ground rent, not absolute
>ground rent, with the more productive oil extracting capitalist operations
>earning an extra surplus value above those who are at the margin and only
>earning the prevailing surplus value corresponding to their
>capitalizations.  Paul

         Thanks, Paul. I'm certain there are enormous differential ground
rents being extracted--- given the cost differentials between, eg., some US
operations and the Persian Gulf region. What I wonder about, though, is
whether there is also absolute rent. I understand Cyrus' dismissal of the
existence of absolute rent in oil on the grounds that Marx's discussion of
this talked about an industry with a low value composition of capital
(which is counter-intuitive for oil), but wasn't the essence of the
argument barriers to entry? If the rate of surplus value in the oil sector
were higher than other sectors, and there are barriers to the equalisation
of rates of exploitation, could we argue that only differential rent exists?
         in solidarity,

>--On Thursday, January 01, 2004 6:46 PM -0300 "michael a. lebowitz"
><mlebowit@SFU.CA> wrote:
>>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
>RESEARCH IN POLITICAL ECONOMY,  Paul Zarembka, editor, Elsevier Science

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

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