[OPE-L:5489] Re: More Intense Labor

From: Gerald_A_Levy (Gerald_A_Levy@email.msn.com)
Date: Thu May 03 2001 - 05:08:38 EDT

Re Rakesh's [5485]:

>  I am arguing that intensification is not
> necessarily a form of relative surplus value:
> it can in some cases  represent a lengthening
> of the working day; in other cases it can
> allow for the wage to be depressed below the
> value of labor power;  and it can indeed in yet
> other cases be a form of relative surplus
> value.

This represents a significant change in position
since you now recognize that a change in labor
intensity 'can'  be a form of relative surplus
value.  Good. Yet, I am unclear why your
position has changed ....

> But you haven't understood the implications of
> your own point then. (snip, JL)
> this is non responsive. Once you agree that an
> hour is not any clock
> hour but an clock hour of average or
> customary intensity, then an
> hour of more intensified labor is simply more
> than an hour. This  follows from what you have
> written. (snip, JL)
> Again you have failed to think through the
> implications of your own argument. (snip, JL)
> non responsive.
> But you are the one trying to wiggle out from
> the consequences of  your repudiation of clock
> time.

Rakesh -- I think I understand the implications
of what I have been suggesting. I'm not sure,
though, if you understand the implications of
your perspective.

I have argued that what constitutes socially
necessary labor time in determining value
is not 'clock time'.  I discussed the meaning of
'socially necessary labor time', indeed, in the
context of a number of threads last month.
One issue I discussed is how a change in the
intensity of labor can change what constitutes
SNLT and therefore what goes into the
determination of value.

Your position seems to be, if I understand you
correctly, that changes in the intensity of labor
are ongoing and continuous and that
consequently changes in SNLT and what is
value are ongoing and continuous. I, of course,
agree that there are often wide variations in the
intensity of labor within any society and in the
context of a particular period of history. I also
agree that there are continuous and ongoing
struggles in many thousands of worksites
between capital and labor over the intensity of
labor every day.

Thus, it seems that our difference amounts to
the following:  while I agree that there are
ongoing and continuous struggles over the
intensity of labor, I also think that there is a
'average' or 'customary' standard of intensity
within each particular society that is taken to
be 'given' in the short-run and only changes infrequently over the
longer-run. In making
this distinction, I am asserting that changes in
'customs' regarding the intensity of labor
generally take a significant amount of time. In
a similar vein, I would say that the 'moral'
and 'cultural' components of the wage also
take time for them to be accepted as the new
norm. You seem to assert, though, that because
labor intensity is on-going changes in SNLT and
therefore value are also ongoing. Indeed, I think
that an instantaneous change in SNLT  is not
only possible but likely from your perspective.
Perhaps this difference in perspective can be
related to our previous discussion about
continuous and discontinuous changes in
dynamic analysis. If  dynamic analysis, for
instance, requires from your perspective
continuous changes in labor intensity which
continuously changes what constitutes SNLT
and value, I think a conclusion might be that
when Marx held that the "customary" labor intensity within a particular
society and during a particular point in time can be taken as given that
he was advancing a non-dynamic (or at best, quasi-dynamic) analysis that
indeed seems to directly violate your (and Steve's)
understanding of dynamics. I hold that such
an assumption of a 'given' average intensity of
labor customary to a particular society is
entirely consistent with dynamic analysis but
would have to be modeled differently -- for
example with occasional 'traverses' caused when
there are 'jumps' in labor intensity that cause
the customary labor intensity of workers and thus
SNLT to change. Because this entails a change
in cultural standards I think this later method is more reasonable as a
means towards
understanding the real social and economic processes at work here.

So, I agree that SNLT can not be measured
universally and simply by 'clock time'. Yet,
I disagree that this requires that the customary
labor intensity that goes into the constitution of
SNLT can instantaneously change or normally
changes in the short-run (e.g. within a period).

In solidarity, Jerry

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : Sat Jun 02 2001 - 00:00:06 EDT