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spite of the very great lengthening of the working day, the daily wages were then lower than before. "The real earnings of the cotton weaver are now far less than they were; his superiority over the common labourer, which at first was very great, has now almost entirely ceased. Indeed . . . the difference in the wages of skilful and common labour is far less now than at any former period."1 How little the increased intensity and extension of labour through piece-wages benefited the agricultural proletariat, the following passage borrowed from a work on the side of the landlords and farmers shows: "By far the greater part of agricultural operations is done by people, who are hired for the day or on piece-work. Their weekly wages are about 12s., and although it may be assumed that a man earns on piece-work under the greater stimulus to labour, Is. or perhaps 2s. more than on weekly wages, yet it is found, on calculating his total income, that his loss of employment, during the year, outweighs this gain . . . Further, it will generally be found that the wages of these men bear a certain proportion to the price of the necessary means of subsistence, so that a man with two children is able to bring up his family without recourse to parish relief."2 Malthus at that time remarked with reference to the facts published by Parliament: "I confess that I see, with misgiving, the great extension of the practice of piece-wage. Really hard work during 12 or 14 hours of the day, or for any longer time, is too much for any human being."8
In the workshops under the Factory Acts, piece-wage becomes the general rule, because capital can there only increase the efficacy of the working day by intensifying labour.4
With the changing productiveness of labour the same quantum of product represents a varying working time. Therefore, piece-wage also varies, for it is the money expression of a determined working time. In our example above, 24 pieces were produced in 12 hours, whilst the value of the product
of the 12 hours was 6s., the daily value of the labourpower 3s., the price of the labour-hour 3d., and the wage for one piece lyid. In one piece half-an-hour's labour was absorbed. If the same working day now supplies, in consequence of the doubled productiveness of labour, 48 pieces instead of 24, and all other circumstances remain unchanged, then the piece-wage falls from lyid. to J^d., as every piece now only represents }4i instead of J^ of a working hour. 24 by lj4d. =3s., and in like manner 48 by J4d.=3s. In other words, piece-wage is lowered in the same proportion as the number of the pieces produced in the same time rises,1 and therefore as the working time spent on the same piece falls. This change in piece-wage, so far purely nominal, leads to constant battles between capitalist and labour. Either because the capitalist uses it as a pretext for actually lowering the price of labour, or because increased productive power of labour is accompanied by an increased intensity of the same. Or because the labourer takes seriously the appearance of piece-wages, viz., that his product is paid for, and not his labour-power, and therefore revolts against a lowering of wages, unaccompanied by a lowering in the selling price of the commodity. "The operatives . . . . carefully watch the price of the raw material and the price of manufactured goods, and are thus enabled to form an accurate estimate of their master's profits."2
The capitalist rightly knocks on the head such pretensions as gross errors as to the nature of wage-labour.8 He cries out against this usurping attempt to lay taxes on the advance of
industry, and declares roundly that the productiveness of labour does not concern the labourer at alL1
KATIONAL DIFFERENCES OP WAGES.
In the 17th chapter we were occupied with the manifold combinations which may bring about a change in magnitude of the value of labour-power—this magnitude being considered either absolutely or relatively, i.e., as compared with surplusvalue; whilst on the other hand, the quantum of the means of subsistence in which the price of labour is realised might again undergo fluctuations independent of, or different from, the changes of this price.2 As has been already said, the simple translation of the value or respectively of the price of labour-power into the exoteric form of wages transforms all these laws into laws of the fluctuations of wages. That which appears in these fluctuations of wages within a single country as a series of varying combinations, may appear in different countries as contemporaneous difference of national wages. In the comparison of the wages in different nations, we must therefore take into account all the factors that determine
changes in the amount of tho value of labour-power; the price and the extent of the prime necessaries of life as naturally and historically developed, the ccat of training the labourers, the part played by the labour of women and children, the productiveness of labour, its extensive and intensive magnitude. Even the most superficial comparison requires the reduction first of the average day-wage for the same trades, in different countries, to a uniform working day. After this reduction to the same terms of the day-wages, time-wage must again be translated into piece-wage, as the latter only can be a measure both of the productivity and the intensity of labour.
In every country there is a certain average intensity of labour, below which the labour for the production of a commodity requires more than the socially necessary time, and therefore does not reckon as labour of normal quality. Only a degree of intensity above the national average affects, in a given country, the measure of value of the mere duration of the working time. This is not the case on the universal market, whose integral parts are the individual countries. The average intensity of labour changes from country to country; here it is greater, there less. These national averages form a scale, whose unit of measure is the average unit of universal labour. The more intense national labour, therefore, as compared with the less intense, produces in the same time more value, which expresses itself in more money.
But the law of value in its international application is yet more modified by this, that on the world-market the more productive national labour reckons also as the more intense, so long as the more productive nation is not compelled by competition to lower the selling price of its commodities to the level of their value.
In proportion as capitalist production is developed in a country, in the same proportion do the national intensity and productivity of labour there rise above the international level.1 The different quantities of commodities of the same kind, produced in different countries in the same working time, have,
•We shall inquire, in another place, what circumstances in relation to productivity majr modify this law for individual branches of industry.
therefore, unequal international values, which are expressed in different prices, i.e., in sums of money varying according to international values. The relative value of money will, therefore, be less in the nation with more developed capitalist mode of production than in the nation with less developed. It follows, then, that the nominal wages, the equivalent of labour-power expressed in money, will also be higher in the first nation than in the second; which does not at all prove that this holds also for the real wages, i.e., for the means of subsistence placed at the disposal of the labourer.
But even apart from these relative differences of the value of money in different countries, it will be found, frequently, that the daily or weekly, &c., wage in the first nation is higher than in the second, whilst the relative price of labour, i.e., the price of labour as compared both with surplus-value and with the value of the product, stands higher in the second than in the first1 J. W. Cowell, member of the Factory Commission of 1833, after careful investigation of the spinning trade, came to the conclusion that, "in England wages are virtually lower to lhe capitalist, though higher to the operative than on the Continent of Europe." (Ure, p. 314.) The English Factory Inspector, Alexander Redgrave, in his Report of Oct. 31st, 1866, proves by comparative statistics with Continental states, that in spite of lower wages and much longer working-time, Continental labour is, in proportion to the product, dearer than English. An English manager of a cotton factory in Olden1 James Anderson remarks in his polemic against Adam Smith: "It deserves, likewise, to be remarked, that although the apparent price of labour is usually lower in poor countries, where the produce of the soil, and grain in general, is cheap; yet it is in fact for the most part really higher than in other countries. For it is not the wages that is given to the labourer per day that constitutes the real price of labour, although it is its apparent price. The real price is that which a certain quantity of work performed actually costs the employer; and considered in this light, labour is in almost all cases cheaper in rich countries than in those that are poorer, although the price of grain, and other provisions, is usually much lower in the last than in the first. . . . Labour estimated by the day, is much lower in Scotland than in England. . . . Labour by the piece is generally cheaper in England." (James Anderson, Observations on the means of exciting a spirit of National Industry, lie., Edin. 1777, pp. 350, 351). On the contrary, lowness of wages produces, in its turn, dearness of labour. "Labour being dearer in Ireland than it is in England . . . because the wages are so much lower." (N. 2079 in Royal Commission on Railways, Minutes, 1887.)