[OPE-L:5459] Re: Re: Re: Re: More Intense Labor

From: Rakesh Narpat Bhandari (rakeshb@Stanford.EDU)
Date: Sun Apr 29 2001 - 13:14:25 EDT

re 5457

>Re Rakesh's [5455]:
>>  Gil, I think if we understand increased intensity
>>  as a defacto extension of the working day,
>>  (snip, JL)
>It's not a lengthening of the working day, though.
>I.e. with an increased intensity of labor, more
>output is being produced even when the length
>of the working day remains constant.

Jerry, I don't think so. If an unintensified hour counts as an hour 
of social labor, then an intensified hour is really more than an hour 
of socially necessary labor time. That is, intensification represents 
an increase in absolute surplus value.  At some point, the 
intensified hour could of course become the frame of reference; then 
intensification would not lengthen the working day, but if the real 
wage does not then increase to compensate for increased intensity, 
the wage will have fallen below the value of labor power. Over the 
long term an intensification of the labor process is not a strong 
foundation on which to build a reduction in necessary labor time.

>Like an increase in surplus value due to technical
>change, an increase in the intensity of labor
>increases the productivity of labor. And, yes,
>an increase in the intensity of labor means that
>the proportion of the working day divided
>between necessary labor time and surplus labor
>time is altered. This is because with an increase
>in the intensity of labor the amount of time
>required for workers to create value equivalent
>to the value of labor power (assumed here to
>equal the wage -- although in practice wages
>fluctuate around the VLP) is reduced.

This is assuming that the real wage can remain constant with an 
intensification of the labor process. A real increase in productivity 
via technical change could allow for the unit values of wage goods to 
be reduced and necessary labor to be reduced without an 
intensification of the labor process. Of course intensification and 
technical change often go hand in hand, so this analytical 
distinction may not actually work out so cleanly.

>It is in the *effects* of an  increase in relative
>surplus value due to increasing intensity of labor
>or  labor-saving technical change that they
>differ. I.e. the former (an increase in the intensity
>of labor) does not increase the organic
>composition of capital; the latter form does
>increase the OCC. Thus, they differ as well in
>terms of their affect on the rate of profit (the
>former is a counter-acting tendency; the
>latter is a mechanism through which the
>LTGRPD operates).

This is a very interesting point. As a counter-tendency, 
intensification however seems to be quite limited as workers will 
rebel in one of many ways against a reduction of the wage below the 
value of labor power. On the other hand, technical change allows for 
a more secure increase in the production of relative surplus value or 
the real or simple rate of surplus value even if comes at the expense 
of upward pressure on the OCC.

Yours, Rakesh


This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : Wed May 02 2001 - 00:00:06 EDT