with this price of labour, only 2s. or 1s. 6d. a day.5 As on our hypothesis he must work on the average 6 hours daily, in order to produce a day's wage corresponding merely to the value of his labour power, as according to the same hypothesis he works only half of every hour for himself, and half for the capitalist, it is clear that he cannot obtain for himself the value of the product of 6 hours if he is employed less than 12 hours. In previous chapters we saw the destructive consequences of over-work; here we find the sources of the sufferings that result to the labourer from his insufficient employment.

If the hour's wage is fixed so that the capitalist does not bind himself to pay a day's or a week's wage, but only to pay wages for the hours during which he chooses to employ the labourer, he can employ him for a shorter time than that which is originally the basis of the calculation of the hour-wage, or the unit- measure of the price of labour. Since this unit is determined by the ratio

daily value of labour-power
working-day of a given number of hours'

it, of course, loses all meaning as soon as the working-day ceases to contain a definite number of hours. The connection between the paid and the unpaid labour is destroyed. The capitalist can now wring from the labour a certain quantity of surplus-labour without allowing him the labour-time necessary for his own subsistence. He can annihilate all regularity of employment, and according to his own convenience, caprice, and the interest of the moment, make the most enormous over-work alternate with relative or absolute cessation of work. He can, under the pretense of paying "the normal price of labour," abnormally lengthen the working-day without any corresponding compensation to the labourer. Hence the perfectly rational revolt in 1860 of the London labourers, employed in the building trades, against the attempt of the capitalists to impose on them this sort of wage by the hour. The legal limitation of the working-day puts an end to such mischief, although not, of course, to the diminution of employment caused by the competition of machinery, by changes in the quality of the labourers employed, and by crises partial or general.

With an increasing daily or weekly wage the price of labour may remain nominally constant, and yet may fall below its normal level. This occurs every time that, the price of labour (reckoned per working-hour) remaining constant, the working-day is prolonged beyond its customary length. If in the fraction:

daily value of labour power

the denominator increases, the numerator increases yet more rapidly. The value of labour-power, as dependent on its wear and tear, increases with the duration of its functioning, and in more rapid proportion than the increase of that duration. In many branches of industry where time-wage is the general rule without legal limits to the working-time, the habit has, therefore, spontaneously grown up of regarding the working day as normal only up to a certain point, e.g., up to the expiration of the tenth hour ("normal working-day," "the day's work," "the regular hours of work"). Beyond this limit the working-time is over- time, and is, taking the hour as unit-measure, paid better ("extra pay"), although often in a proportion ridiculously small.6 The normal working-day exists here as a fraction of the actual working-day, and the latter, often during the whole year, lasts longer than the former.7 The increase in the price of labour with the extension of the working-day beyond a certain normal limit, takes such a shape in various British industries that the low price of labour during the so-called normal time compels the labourer to work during the better paid over-time, if he wishes to obtain a sufficient wage at all.8 Legal limitation of the working-day puts an end to these amenities.9

It is a fact generally known that, the longer the working-days, in any branch of industry, the lower are the wages.10 A. Redgrave, factory inspector, illustrates this by a comparative review of the 20 years from 1839-1859, according to which wages rose in the factories under the 10 Hours Law, whilst they fell in the factories in which the work lasted 14 to 15 hours daily.11

From the law, "the price of labour being given, the daily or weekly wage depends on the quantity of labour expended," it follows, first of all, that the lower the price of labour, the greater must be the quantity

  By PanEris using Melati.

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