Re: (OPE-L) Re: s/v & c/v: macroeconomic categories only?

From: Rakesh Bhandari (rakeshb@STANFORD.EDU)
Date: Fri Jan 30 2004 - 17:53:19 EST

Dear Cyrus,
In a previous exchange on treatment of gold in neo Ricardian theory,
we discussed Michele Naples' emphasis on that class of commodities in
which a kind of inherently scarce land is a means of production. With
the production of high quality, "reasonably priced" oil, isn't a
inherently scarce kind of land a means of production? And isn't oil a
special commodity for this reason? (In saying that inherently scarce
land is a means of production for oil, I am not saying that oil is
sold at a monopoly price).  In order to produce this high quality and
cheap oil and capture the profits (if not some of the rent)
therefrom, mustn't the capitalist--say, an oil services company--have
access to that land? Why would a capitalist rely on his ability to
gain that access through competitive bidding if his government can
secure it for him by providing 'security' to the landlord state (or
in the case of KSA creating the state) that controls access to the
inherently scarce means of production? Doesn't the US fear that other
big consumers  of Middle East and Central Asian oil and gas  may
demand ever more participation in extraction, refining and
transportation and thus push US companies out of their presently
favored position with state oil companies in the Gulf? While (as you
have shown) a struggle to control the differential rent yielded by
low cost oil cannot explain the costly US military thrust in the
Middle East, perhaps the attempt to secure rent and the profits from
oil production/refining/transportation can?
If the above suffers from an an egregious lapse of logic (or two),
please don't hesistate to point that out!

As Lewontin says about the wind chill factor, it proves that
organisms don't simply adapt to but create their own
environments--boldly thrown into relief as the arctic wind dissipates
the environment that we ususally create for ourselves!


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