Re: [OPE-L] length of the working day

From: Paul Bullock (paulbullock@EBMS-LTD.CO.UK)
Date: Fri Jul 29 2005 - 17:13:05 EDT


there was no leisure for the early 19 Century worker, bar Sundays which was
neceessary to prevent the complete destruction of masses of labour... which
after all didn't live much longer than 40 years on average in eg Liverpool
or Manchester.

Marginal utilities is charmingly Benthamite, but semi starvation, the
workhouse, etc etc were the real social forces at work. The question is
resolved in class struggle, what has to be fought for by each side, it is a
broad historical question...itself  made possible by the development of the
productive forces. After all there was a material set of circumsatnces over
which to 'bargain'.... 10 hours, 8 hours ( 6 days), 45 hours, 40 hours, ...
35hrs if you are a labour aristocrat...... Of course if you work in one of
the many labour compounds in Asia then its still the 8, 9,10 hour day for 6
days....maybe we could ask them about the marginal utlity of leisure?


Paul Bullock

----- Original Message -----
From: "Michael Perelman" <michael@ECST.CSUCHICO.EDU>
Sent: Thursday, July 28, 2005 11:28 PM
Subject: [OPE-L] length of the working day

> At the time when the eight-hour day was a matter of public debate, that
any economists ever
> offer theory as to how the length of the working day was determined, other
than to say that
> it was a matter of a bargain between individual workers and their
employer.  I realize that
> you can explain an individual transaction in terms of the marginal utility
of leisure
> compared to the marginal utility of wages, but beyond that was there
>  --
> Michael Perelman Economics Department California State University
> Chico, CA 95929
> Tel. 530-898-5321
> E-Mail michael at

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