[OPE-L:5462] Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: More Intense Labor

From: Gerald_A_Levy (Gerald_A_Levy@email.msn.com)
Date: Sun Apr 29 2001 - 14:10:49 EDT

Re Rakesh's [5459]:

> 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.

Rakesh, an "unintensified hour" is a meaningless
abstraction. *Every*  labor hour is performed
to *some* level of intensity.  Indeed, an
"unintensified hour"  is inconsistent with the
very possibility of  labor time.

Viewed at from the system as a whole, one can
then see that at any moment in time there is an
*average ("customary") intensity of  labor*  in
different societies and that individual intensities
of labor at particular worksites are either higher
or lower than this average. An empirical
problem, though, is that there is no meaningful
and accurate measure for calculating  labor intensity.

> 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.

That's not the question. The question is whether
an increase in the intensity of labor results in
a reduction of  necessary labor time (and thereby
an increase in surplus labor time).

Consider the following simple example.

Assume an 8 hour working day in which
necessary labor time = 4 hours and surplus labor
time = 4 hours.

Now double the labor intensity in the example
above.  How does that change the numbers
for nlt and slt?

> This is assuming that the real wage can remain
> constant with an
> intensification of the labor process.

There's no reason to suppose that real wages
will _necessarily_ increase with an increase
in the intensity of labor (a point I discussed with

> 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.

Well ... as expressed previously, an intensification
of labor does not necessarily reduce the wage.
As for whether a reduction in wages is "quite
limited" as a 'counteracting factor', see Vol 3,
Ch. 14, Section 2 in which Marx specifically
identifies a reduction in wages below their value
as "one of the most important factors stemming
the tendency for the rate of profit to fall."

In solidarity, Jerry

PS: I'll get back to the thread on turnover at
a later time. Now it's time for me to get some
sun and attend a "May Day" (celebrated a
couple days early) concert in Tompkins Square Park.

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