[OPE-L:5469] Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: More Intense Labor

From: Rakesh Narpat Bhandari (rakeshb@Stanford.EDU)
Date: Mon Apr 30 2001 - 13:30:27 EDT

re Jerry's 5467

>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).

Jerry, the bundle of use values which workers will have to consume 
will increase after an intensification of labor. How long it takes 
workers to adjust that bundle is another question. However long that 
lag, the greater the extra surplus value  appropriated.

>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.

But I am talking about an exceptional capitalist here, one who 
coerces his workers to put in hours of greater intensity than hours 
which are average or customary in intensity at any given point in the 
business cycle. A hour of socially necessary labor time is not simply 
determined by clock time (there is not Newtonian abstract time in 
time measurement in capitalist dynamics, as Moishe Postone has 
argued); what counts as an hour of socially necessary labor is an 
hour of average or customary intensity. By this standard then the 
exceptional capitalist has got his workers to put in more hours by 
intensifying the labor process. This may seem counter-intuitive to 
you since the more intensely exploited workers seem to be working the 
same 8 hour day as those putting in hours of customary or average 
intensity. But this appearance is quite deceiving.

>>  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 eight hours of labor time is not eight hours of labor time. See 
above. Sometimes eight hours of labor time can be sixteen hours of 
labor time (say if a capitalist has doubled the intensity of labor), 
and sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.

>>  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.

And the capitalist has got those workers to put in 25% more hours in 
terms of the standard of  what counts as an hour of average or 
customary intensity.

>That represents an increase in the productivity
>of labor -- no if, ands, or buts about it.

Nope unit values remain the same. 25% more hours, 25% greater output.

>  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).

And Jerry where does Marx analyze intensification in terms of 
relative 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.

I don't think that's why I am saying.

>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.

You're just stuck with the fetishism of absolute time.

>  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

Yours, Rakesh

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