[OPE-L:5497] Re: Re: More Intense Labor

From: glevy@pratt.edu
Date: Fri May 04 2001 - 12:55:01 EDT

Re Rakesh's latest:

> It does not necessarily go up. 

That was my point.

> But it's reasonable to assume that
> with greater intensity there will be a need for more consumption 
> and more time off at some point. 

I already dealt with the issue of whether the VLP changes with an
increase in the intensity of labor. As for "more time off", I
don't quite see your point. Assuming that there is _only_ an
increase in the intensity of labor (rather than being combined
with an increase in the hours of work) I see no reason to suppose
that workers need, in some physiological sense, additional time
each day for rest. On the other hand, an increase in absolute
surplus value by lengthening the working day can run afoul of
workers needs for non-working time if it means that they are
unable to get the minimum required amount of sleep each day that
is necessary to avoid fatigue and function efficiently on the
job (thus an increase in absolute surplus value beyond some point
might lead to a decrease in the intensity of labor and output
per worker per working hour, i.e. productivity.)

> Workers will need to make more to enjoy
> unpaid leave to get the rest they will need. 

I don't get this point. Indeed, it seems more reasonable to suggest
that the more intensively they work, the more they will 'enjoy'
non-working time. In any event, I see no reason to suppose that
capitalists will give workers additional time for rest with an
increase in the intensity of labor so that they can 'enjoy' their
non-working time better.   

> Yes this is not
> necessary, I just consider it highly likely.

Once you admit that it is not necessary, there is no longer a
necessary link between changes in the intensity of labor and the 
VLP. So ... perhaps we are moving closer to each other after all.

> And they need more time off as well. Which means that they have to
> make enough to be able to take unpaid leave.

See above.

> I think the conditions of many workers in the world's factories 
> are indeed this dire.

This indeed is a condition which varies internationally. I think
A.G. Frank had some statistics on this issue in _Crisis in the 
Third World_.

> drinking water often has to be purchased

... but it normally isn't in most parts of the world. In any event,
drinking water is often provided gratis in factories.

> My claim elsewhere to which you did not respond is that once 
> we have a stable level of intensity which is customary or normal, 
> then an  hour of labor more intense than that counts as more than 
> an hour. In this case intensification is an elongation of the 
> working day, a form of absolute surplus value.

Didn't respond to ? ? ?  I responded to precisely this point in a
whole bunch of posts in recent days. You might not have been 
satisfied with those responses, but that's another issue.

> Well once we introduce an exogeneous shock to the system such as a
> doubling of the intensity of labor

Changes in labor intensity should not be thought of as constituting
"exogeneous shocks".  Changes in labor intensity are a direct
consequence of class struggle ... and class struggle is not an
"exogeneous" force re the production of surplus value within a
capitalist system.

In solidarity, Jerry

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