[OPE-L:5467] Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: More Intense Labor

From: Gerald_A_Levy (Gerald_A_Levy@email.msn.com)
Date: Mon Apr 30 2001 - 06:24:14 EDT

Re Rakesh's [5466]:

> But that it's unreasonable to assume that a
> capitalist could
> double the intensity of labor without increasing
> the real wage.

It's more unreasonable to expect capitalists after
there has been an increase in the intensity of
labor to tell workers "We've decided to increase
your wage!" and/or "We've decided to lower
the market price of our commodity so that you
can afford to buy more of it now" [in any
event, that last _possibility_  would only hold if
the worksite(s) where there was an increase
in the intensity of labor produced means of
consumption destined for the working-class).

> As I already said, only if the intensified hour
> becomes the new norm
> of an hour of average or customary labor time.

As I've already explained, the intensity of labor
that is assumed to be  "normal" or "customary"
that goes into SNLT can change over the
very long-term. But, in the shorter-term the
intensity of labor that is associated with SNLT
is given, i.e. what is socially understood as
normal or customary within a particular
society during a particular historical epoch
remains the same. YET, the intensity of labor
DOES change in the short-run and I would
also assert that there tend to be cyclical variations
in the intensity of labor associated with the
business cycle.

> That
> is, the capitalist who succeeds in intensifying the > labor process has
> effectively elongated the working day of those in > his employ.

8 hours of labor-time, though, is still 8 hours
of labor-time. And, more to the point, the
working day has NOT BEEN ELONGATED.

> 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.

See above.

> The necessary part of
> the working day has actually increased (not fallen as in the case of
> relative surplus value!)


Why are you trying to make what is basically a
simple process complex?   If, c.p., a capitalist
gets her workers to work 25% harder and faster,
then that means that during the same working
hours, those workers are able to produce
25% more output in that period of time.
That represents an increase in the productivity
of labor -- no if, ands, or buts about it. Since
it now takes less time for the workers to
produce the monetary equivalent of their wage
bundle, nlt goes down (by 25%) thereby
causing slt to go up (by 25%).

> I think it is very
> misleading to understand intensification in terms > of relative surplus

It is far more misleading to understand it in
terms of absolute surplus value. (and, btw, I
can't think of a single instance in which Marx
wrote in _Capital_ that an increase in labor
intensity represents an increase in absolute
surplus value).   So ... if you include an increase
in the  intensity of labor as a form of  absolute
surplus value then you are basically saying that
there is absolute absolute surplus value and
relative absolute surplus value. Relative absolute
surplus value makes no sense whatsoever, imo.
Either it's absolute or it's relative -- and it can't
be absolutely absolute in the case of an
increase in labor intensity because the length
of the working day and the length of the
workweek and the length of the working year
(i.e. total working hours) remain constant.

>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.

See above. It's not an elongation of the working
day if the working day is not elongated. For
the working day to be elongated, then the hours
of work have to be increased. And they are
not for this form of relative surplus value

As for Kay's book, I see no point in looking at
secondary sources at thir point.  If you want to
go to a source, try _Capital_: show me a single
instance in which Marx refers to an increase
in the intensity of surplus value as constituting
an increase in the production of absolute 
surplus value.

In solidarity, Jerry

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