# [OPE-L:5470] Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: More Intense Labor

From: Rakesh Narpat Bhandari (rakeshb@Stanford.EDU)
Date: Mon Apr 30 2001 - 22:13:51 EDT

```re 5465

Jerry has claimed that his argument is obvious and indisputable; I
just think intensification, like an increase in the annual rate of
surplus value, is much more complicated when we look at closely.

Let me go back to one of Jerry's earlier posts.

>Re Rakesh's :
>
>>  >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
>first.
>
>Your first sentence CAN NOT be right: i.e.
>in the example above an 8 hour working day
>is assumed.
>
>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
>PRODUCTIVITY OF LABOR (as
>measured by output/worker hr.) has
>doubled. This is why an increase in the
>intensity of labor MUST be considered to be
>a form of relative surplus value. 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.
>
>In solidarity, Jerry

Jerry,
Just to repeat what I am saying. If the more intense hour does not
yet determine the average or customary intensity, then it simply
counts as more than an hour. With such intensification, the working
day has thus been elongated, and absolute surplus value has been
produced.

If we assume that the more intense hour now determines the norm, then
what we have in your case is a wage which is below the value of labor
power. Though with intensification a greater sum of use values is
needed to reproduce labor power, you assume that there is no change
in the real wage. That is, you assume the wage now falls below the
value of labor power. Yet this is not what happens in Marx's analysis
of relative surplus value; it is however what happens in the case of
the production of absolute surplus value.

It's simply not the case that only two hours are necessary for the
reproduction of the working class. That is all the wage may represent
so in this sense you are correct that you now have the production of
relative surplus value. But intensification is not really relative
surplus value . With intensification it is the depression of the wage
below the level of the value of labor power which explains why
intensification allows for the production of extra surplus value.
This is a result entirely at odds with Marx's analysis of relative
surplus value for in the analysis thereof Marx does not assume the
violations of the laws of value--he assumes that the wage is always
at the level of the value of labor power. You break this assumption
without specifying why. In short, should we count as relative surplus
value the extra surplus value which obtains from depressing the wage
below the value of labor power? I don't think so.

With intensification it may in fact be that four hours or even more
are needed for the reproduction of the working class--that is with a
doubling of intensity the workers may need twice or more the previous
real wage. If workers need only 1.5x the real wage, then yes you
would get relative surplus value. But how can we be sure that the
numbers will work out that way? Why should we suppose that they will
so work out? So yes it is possible for intensification to result in
the production of relative surplus value, but it depends on how the
value of labor power is changed by  intensification.

If you have only two hours necessary for the reproduction of the
working class, you are simply allowing the wage to fall below the
value of labor power--and thus breaking a key methodological
assumption of Capital. If you wanted to say that extra surplus value
can always be obtained by the depression of the wage below the value
of labor power and that is what intensification indeed usually
amounts to, then we have no argument. I just don't think with
intensification you have a clear case of relative surplus value as
long as you maintain the key methodological assumption that the wage
is always at the value of labor power.

Rakesh
```

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