[OPE-L:5464] Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: More Intense Labor

From: Rakesh Narpat Bhandari (rakeshb@Stanford.EDU)
Date: Sun Apr 29 2001 - 22:23:50 EDT

re Jerry's 5462

>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.

Jerry, ok what I meant by unintensified hour is what you more 
accurately call an hour of average ("customary") intensity of labor, 
but now the point remains that an hour more intensified than that is 
really more than an hour of socially necessary) labor time; hence, an 
intensification of the labor process *is* an elongation of the 
working day. That we have troubles with empirically ascertaining and 
measuring an hour of average intensity of labor vis a vis an hour of 
intensified labor does not prove that we are talking about 
meaningless things here.

>>  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?

In my opinion nlt remains 4 while (assuming a doubling of intensity) 
snlt goes to 12. What I am saying is that nlt could not remain 4 with 
a doubling of intensity.

>>  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

There is indeed a reason to suppose that one way or another labor 
will fight to have the wage approximate the value of labor power.

>>  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."

You are right. But while this depression of the wage below the value 
of labor power may become important at points in the business cycle, 
I don't think capital can rely on it over the long term. Why else 
would Marx assume that the wage is at the value of labor power?

Yours, Rakesh

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