Re: [OPE-L] Intensities of Labour

From: glevy@PRATT.EDU
Date: Thu May 11 2006 - 09:56:01 EDT

> I note that jerry seems to be distinguishing between increasing
> intensity of labour and absolute surplus value. But, doesn't the more
> intense workday extract more labour (and exhaust the worker) just
> like the longer workday-- except in a given time period?

Hi Mike L,

Yes, but they _should_ be distinguished since increasing surplus
value by increasing the intensity of labor and increasing surplus
value by increasing the length of the working day (or the work week)
are different _forms_ through which surplus value can be increased.

They also _should_ be differentiated for the following reason:
an increase in the intensity of labor increases output/worker/period of
time whereas an increase in absolute surplus value does not.

> If the
> workday were lengthened (eg., by 10%) and intensity fell by 20%
> (ie., big pores open up) on the whole, wouldn't that reduce absolute
> surplus value?


>          As for measurement (a very important question), I seem to
> remember (way back-- 80s?) the use of accidents as a proxy (which
> made a lot of sense to me). Has anyone explored this since?

Accidents, statistically, seem to be a decent proxy for an extension
of the working day.  Less so, I think, for increases in labor intensity.
For example, on an auto assembly line where attempts to speed-up are
ongoing and where the intensity of labor is very high, accidents during
'overtime' hours are greater than during all regular working hours
combined.  I think the same thing has been said, statistically, about
all U.S. manufacturing.

In solidarity, Jerry

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