Monday, September 6, 2010

Space, Oil and Capital

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Mazen Labban
Routledge, 2008 - 179pages

The historical development of capital has produced a progressive increase in the demand for raw material and has consequently resulted in the concentration of capital in, and the geographical expansion of, the production of natural resources, globalizing and intensifying the competition for the control of production and markets. This book is an attempt to explain, at the theoretical and empirical level, the relationship between the production of oil and the process of inter-capitalist competition in the global economy, and why it is necessary to appreciate the underlying process of the social production of space in determining the access to and control of global oil production and world markets. Labban argues that the competition for oil is part of a broader inter-capitalist competition, which expresses inter-capitalist competition at its most fundamental level, as competition for the production and realization of profit from the application of capital to material nature. He uses case studies of oil in the former Soviet Union and contemporary competition for investment in Russian and Iranian oil to illustrate the competition for the control of oil and emphasize its contradictory geographical basis. Unlike other studies of the contemporary geopolitical struggle for oil, Labban's book emphasizes the origin of the struggle for oil in inter-capitalist competition and the instrumental role that the production of global space, through the dialectical tensions between transnational oil corporations and resource-owning states, plays in determining the profitability of oil production and the availability of oil in the world market. This highly interesting and topical book will appeal to those undertaking research in political economy, economic geography, resource geography and international relations.

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