[OPE-L:5466] Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: More Intense Labor

From: Rakesh Narpat Bhandari (rakeshb@Stanford.EDU)
Date: Mon Apr 30 2001 - 03:16:06 EDT

re Jerry's 5465

>Re Rakesh's [5464]:
>>  >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.
>Your second sentence directly contradicts your

I am assuming the presentation in Kay's book, so I have not expressed 
myself fully. Tell me what you think of what he has written on the 
difference between intensification and productivity improvement.

What I meant was that with intensification alone or with 
intensification, cet paribus, necessary labor time would remain four 
hours. But that it's unreasonable to assume that a capitalist could 
double the intensity of labor without increasing the real wage.

>Your first sentence CAN NOT be right: i.e.
>in the example above an 8 hour working day
>is assumed.

So why can't it be right?

>This is not a hard problem. To explain why the
>answer to the above question MUST BE
>nlt = 2 hours + slt = 6 hours, please consider
>again what has happened:
>-- since labor intensity has doubled, it means
>that  in the SAME WORKING DAY AND
>HOURS, the output of the SAME AMOUNT
>OF WORKERS has doubled. I.e. the
>measured by output/worker hr.) has

As I already said, only if the intensified hour becomes the new norm 
of an hour of average or customary labor time. However if it is not 
the new norm an intensified hour counts as more than or is indeed 
more labor time than an hour of customary or average labor time. That 
is, the capitalist who succeeds in intensifying the labor process has 
effectively elongated the working day of those in his employ.

>This is why an increase in the
>intensity of labor MUST be considered to be
>a form of relative surplus value.

No in your example what has happened is that the wage has now fallen 
below the value of labor power which should now be greater in use 
value terms with the intensification of labor.  The necessary part of 
the working day has actually increased (not fallen as in the case of 
relative surplus value!) but in allowing workers only to purchase the 
same sum of use values as before intensification capital has 
depressed the wage below the value of labor power. this is 
effectively what capital does when it prolongs the working day 
without an increase in the real wage; here again intensification 
proves itself to be more similar to absolute than relative surplus 

relative surplus value after all can be increased even with the wage 
not falling below the value of labor power. I think it is very 
misleading to understand intensification in terms of relative surplus 

>It is true
>nonetheless that this does *not* constitute the
>*primary* form of how relative surplus value
>can be increased under capitalism and that there
>are natural and social limits to how far the
>intensity of labor can be increased that are not
>the  case with labor-saving technical change.

Sorry again if I am missing a simple and obvious point.

You didn't respond to this however:

>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.

Yours, Rakesh

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