Labor Extensity

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Labor Extensity


the amount of labor of unvarying intensity that a worker expends in the production process over a given time.

Given a certain intensity of labor, the total amount of labor used—that is, its quantitative dimensions—may increase or decrease depending on such factors as the duration of the workday or workweek. Under capitalism, and especially in the early stages of capitalist development, extending the workday beyond the necessary work time is one way of creating absolute surplus value. The higher rate of exhaustion of labor power under capitalism is caused by excessive increases in the length of the workday. The working class in the advanced capitalist countries has succeeded in obtaining the enactment of legal restrictions on the length of the workday. Under present conditions, in order to achieve greater exploitation of the workers, entrepreneurs employ disguised means of increasing work time (for example, through overtime work) at the same time that they raise the level of labor intensity.

Under socialism, labor extensity is determined in accordance with the socially normal level of labor intensity per unit of work time. The Constitution of the USSR stipulates a maximum work time of 41 hours a week. The scientific approach to the establishment of normal levels of labor intensity makes it possible to achieve the most effective utilization of labor within that time while maintaining a high degree of fitness for work.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.