Re: [OPE-L] the "unequal exchange" controversy

From: Jerry Levy (Gerald_A_Levy@MSN.COM)
Date: Sat Dec 31 2005 - 08:08:05 EST

> Labor intensity is always difficult to measure, often it is
> measured indirectly (frequency of work accidents, the number of workers
> doing a given set of tasks).

Hi Jurriaan:

A short additional comment: there are studies which show that the
frequency of work accidents goes up as labor intensity increases
but there are also studies which show that work accidents increase
as a consequence of a lengthening of the working day.  So, if we
use the # of work accidents as an indirect measure, we have no
way of knowing to what extent the change is attributable to an
increase in labor intensity and/or to what extent it is a result of
an increase in the length of the working day. (On the micro level,
it could also be attributable to a change in new technology or
work rules and organization)  It is important to note in connection
with the  topic of UE that the length of the working day is by no
means uniform internationally and that in many nations firms are
able to succeed in increasing absolute surplus value.  There are
some international statistics on this, but not a whole lot.

In solidarity, Jerry

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