[OPE-L:5501] Re: Re: More Intense Labor

From: Rakesh Narpat Bhandari (rakeshb@Stanford.EDU)
Date: Sat May 05 2001 - 13:19:36 EDT

re Jerry's 5499

>Re Rakesh's [5498]:
>>   If you burn yourself out, you need time to
>>  recuperate, i.e., not work.
>Workers are not batteries.
>All they need in a purely physiological sense to
>recuperate from working intensively (provided
>they are not injured on the job) is adequate time
>for sleep.

Fine. There is no purely physiological need; what appears to be a 
physical need for rest and recuperation cannot be separated strictly 
speaking from socially and culturally determined needs. The point 
remains that whatever the working class needs for rest and 
rucuperation--as physiologically/culturally/socially determined--is 
threatened by an intensification of labor. The working class will now 
"need" (though not in a strict physiological sense as you correctly 
insist) more time for rest and recuperation. If after intensification 
workers don't make enough to now work for shorter hours with the same 
consumption possibilities or with more days off again with the same 
consumption possibilities, they will *experience* intensification as 
a depression of the wage below the value of their labor power.

And in this case we don't have a clear case of relative surplus value.

>No. What is required is sleep, not days off.
>Of course, workers can come to believe that
>they need days off per week and weeks off
>per year and this can (and does) then become
>an issue in the class struggle.

Yes if workers believe that they need to rest and recuperate so much 
after a given expenditure of labor, then if after a greater 
expenditure of labor, they do not enjoy a commensurate increase in 
rest and time for recuperation, they will suffer in real terms the 
immiseration which derives from the depression of the wage below the 
value of labor power, as physiologically/culturally/socially 

So does the extra surplus value which derives from depressing the 
wage below the value of labor power count as relative surplus value?

>The point I would make is that there is more
>than one form of relative surplus value

The question you are not asking is whether the depression of the wage 
below the value of labor power counts as a form of relative surplus 

>and simply
>because we label an increase in labor intensity
>as a form of increasing relative surplus value
>does not mean that we can or should confuse
>this form with the *predominant* form for
>how relative surplus value is increased (i.e.
>with labor-saving technical change). Indeed,
>it is crucial to understand the difference in these
>two forms as well as their difference from
>absolute surplus value.

In the case of absolute surplus value does not the wage fall below 
the value of labor power?

>>  How are you responding to the criticism I made > of your argument? You
>said that intensification
>>  does not endanger the depression the wage
>>  below the level needed to meet certain
>>  physiological needs. I said
>>  that this was not clear at all. You are simply not > responding.
>I already responded ... on numerous occasions.
>For instance, yesterday I explained the _only_
>(highly exceptional) circumstance in which
>increasing labor intensity would necessarily
>require additional consumption.

Why do you say these are exceptional circumstances? Where is your 
evidence?  You seem to be generalizing from the factory in which you 
worked--there you found to be many overfed people? What does this 


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