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Piece work (or Piecework) is any type of employers in which a worker is paid a fixed rate
for each unit produced or action performed regard less of time. In this assignment we will
try to find out what does mean by piece work and what is Marxist’s view about piece wage
system. In this assignment to understand piece wage system with labour exploitation. We
will discuss on the basis of some important question. Marxist opinion about piece wage
system. Here, it will be discussed what is piece wage. What is Marxist view of piece wage
system? How does capitalist people dominate labour class? How are the basis of piece wage
system? It will be discussed on the basis of some question?
i. How are piece wage different in form of time but in the same in essence?
ii. How is labour measured in piece wage?
iii. How does the form of piece wages hide explanation?
iv. How are little in the some often introduced to piece wage?
v. If I were a worker, under what circumstances, would I prefer to work under place
wage rather than hourly wage? Why?
vi. What is the likely relation between rises in productivity and piece rate in the average
vii. The applicability of Marx analysis of piece work and piece wage to such area of
unwaged labour as term work, house work, school work, the work of
viii. What are the thought of other theories and how they criticize Marxist view of piece
wage system it will also be discussed.

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1 Introduction
Piece wage is based on the amount of work performed on the basis of out put or productivity
and not on the basis of time spent. Piece work one of the simplest and most commonly used
of all incentive used of all incentive plans. The standard in expressed in terms of certain
sum of money for every unit produced, such as Rs. 2/- per piece or Rs. 4/- kilo or Rs. 6/-
per dozen.
The earning of the employee is directly proportion to his output or performance. It is called
a 1 for 1 plar for each 1 percent increase in wages.
Wage can be defined as a sum of money paid to the stuff by the employer for rendering
services as per a contract. Piece rate is used for job in which the quantity of work done by
a person or a group is readily counted or calculated. Sometimes the piece wage is modified
to provide a guaranteed for hourly or weakly minimum. Piece rate is used for jobs in which
the quantity of work done by a person. They required uniform-working condition, now
materials and consistent supporting services. The amount of work done and not the time
spent is the deterring factor in this type of wage system. In this way not only is the
production increased but the steadlines of production is also ensure fully. It stimulates
employees to produce more as their wages are related with their productivity. The system
is fair to both employees and employers as it apparently restores to the ambitious workmen.
This method provides them with the opportunity to secure the increased compens ation due
to them account of their greater skill and diligence. The fact that the cost of per unit is
constant the fact computation of the labour cost becomes. a very easy task. It helps in
preparing estimates or tenders with the increase in production, certain are heads remain
fixed and this reduces per unit cost, this gives advantages to the consumers also as now
they get product at affordable rates under this method, meritorious workers are rewired and
poor worker are panelized, workers try to improve method of work so that their output is

In this way a lot of advantages of time is avoided and the work method can be standardized
very easily. The worker use the machine in such a way that there is no bream in machine
and the raw materials are also properly handled. Under this system, strict supervision of
workers is also required. workers are themselves interested into production. It encourages
them and there is absolutely no wrong done. It also results in better industrial relations. The
workers also refrain from wasting time, or doing the work slowly. Some industrial where

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piece rate pay jobs are common are agricultural work, cable installation, call center, writing
editing, translation, truck driving, data entry carpet cleaning craftwork and manufacturing
working for a piece rate does not mean that employers are exempt from paying minimum
wage or overtime requirement, which very among nations and states.
Employers may font it in their interested to use pieces rate pay after examining three
theoretical consideration. The cost and viability of monitoring output in a way that
accurately measures production so that quality doesn’t decrease in first, variable skill level
in is second where piece rate are more effective in a more homogenous. workforce. Thirdly
there may be more invasive managerial relations as t he management is attempting to test
how fast the workers can produce.
Employees decide whether to work for piece rate if the relative earning are high and if other
physical and psychological conditions are favorable some of these might be job stress,
physically risk, degree of supervision and ability to work with peers or family members.
Employers may also be more or less welcoming to performance pay also be more or less
welcoming to performance. Pay depending on the leverage and risk. Leverage was defined
as ratio of variable pay to base pay and risk is the probability the employee will see
increased benefits with efforts. Workers tended to be suspicious of pay packages that were
too heavy on variable pay and were concerned it might be a conversion to remora cost of
living wage adjustment or to secure wage rollbacks.

2. Definition of Piece wage

 First of all, wages are the remuneration paid to labour for its productive service
whether mental or physical.
Beginner's said that
 A wage may be defined as a sum of money paid under contract by an employer to
a worker for service rendered.
 Wages are the price paid for the service of labour.
 Wages are the remuneration of labour.
 Wages is the remuneration paid to the worker for the effects undertaken to him.
J.B Clark

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There are many kind of wage. Piece wage is one of them. The definition of piece wage
 Piece work is any type of employment in which a worker is paid a fixed piece rate
for each unit produced or action performed regardless of time.
- (Wikipedia)
 Piece wage based on the amount work performed on the basis of output or
productivity and not on the basis of time spent.
- (Buainess Management Ideas)
 A method of wage payment whereby after tests have set a standard time for a tas
the worker receives a high piece rate for doing the job in task the worker receives
a high piece rate for doing the job in task time and a lawer piece rate for loking
long than task time.
- (Merriam Webster)
 Piece wage is a converted form of time wage and time wage are a converted form
of the value of labour power.
- (Karl Marx)

3. Marxist view of piece wage

Marx said that,
Piece wage = payment according to the number of piece produced
piece rate = payment per piece
Piece wage = converted form of time wage and time wages are a converted form of the
value of labour power.
So, Piece wage = a form of a form, just like time wage
- piece wage seems as if workers sell their embodied labour in each piece.
- Piece wage seems as if the wage is not determined by the value of labour power.
-Piece wage and time wage often exist side by side.
- In the same industry
- In the same factory
Marx gives us an example as a point of departure
-12 hours of labour, 6 required to reproduce labour power, 6 for capitalist
- 24 pieces produced
- value of 24 pieces = 6s (shilling) or 72d (pene)

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value product per hour = 6d (72/24)
- value per unit = 3d (72/24)
- piece wage = 1.5d (72/24) or a total of 3s for day work – surplus value = 3s (or six of
the 12 hours)

4. The particularities of piece wage

Piece wage becomes the most fruitful source of reductions in wages and of frauds
committed by the capitalist.
The piece wage is the form of wage most appropriate to the capitalist mode of production.
1. Setting of piece rates is source of struggle between workers and capitalist.
- What is the socially necessary labour time (SNLT) per piece? What is the average
degree of efficiency?
- In general, these question are answer by experience.
- But with new technology or new peoducts there is a struggle
- Whatever the SNLT is determined to be, that is the standard each worker must
meet, or be dismissed.
- The standard is set in terms of time, eg. waisteout = 1 hour
- The standard also sets the average interesting of labour request e.g. to produced
a waist coat within 1 hour.

2. With piece work the need for direct superintendence is reduced is reduced or even
eliminated, workers are focused to work fast and well to meet the going standard
of production under the threat of not being folly paid or losing their job.
3. Piece wage tend to produce hierarchies of wages.
(a) The sweating system wherein a parasitic middleman sublet or subcontracts
workers and takes a cut of their wages.
(b) An employer sign a contract with only one worker who then subcontract other
workers, oversees them and pays them.
(c) Individual abilities very, therefor output and wage very form individual to
individual and this produces adage hierarchy and competitive among workers.
4. Piece wage results in workers being willing or even desirous, of longer working

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- they may be willing because lower piece rate make them want to work longer to
maintain their total wage.
- they may be desire in order to make more money than others.
5. Technological change that increase the productivity of a given time and intensity
of labour will.
- either leads to a rise in wages if the piece rates in order to capture all of the fruits
of raising productivity.
To illustrate this dynamic, Marx modifies the example previously given on the
basis of a doubling of productivity. Total out put goes from 24 48 As a result :- @
1.5d/Piece workers wages would double.
(assuming the sales price remained the same at 3d/piece)
- the total product value would double and the worker and t he capitalist would now
get 6s each instead of only 3s.
- therefore,the capitalist try to lower the piece rate from 1.5d to .75 in order to
capture all the increased value.
-if they are successful, then one of the new total value of 12s while the capitalist
walks off with 9s.
-therefore, there is a struggle over who benefits how much from the rise in
productivity brought on by the introduction of the new technology.
-the change in the piece rate tends to content struggles between capital and workers.
-The capitalist occur the workers who try to share in the increased productivity of
" intimidation" and of trying to establish a duty on mechanical improvements.

5. Commentary
piece work to the experienced workers whether in home, factory or field always carries the
flavor of exploitation the subtlety that Marx insisted upon- now the from of payment leads
workers to drive themselves to high intensity and long hours it not always immediately
apparent to new and naive workers. To them piece work may seem to provide an
opportunity for great achievement. The more you work, the more you get paid. They don't
realize at first that the piece rate have been set so that ever with their greatest efforts they
will earn with little in relation to what they produce. They don't realizes, because they
haven't had the experience, that if they outperform past slandered so that their income raise
but little ever with increased efforts . In piece ways it seems at first sight as if use value

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brought from the laborer was, not the function of this labor- power, living labor but labor
already realized in the product, and as if the price of this labor was determined, not as with
time ways, by the friction
daily value of
labour power
the working
of a given number
of hours
but by the capacity for work of the producer, The confidence that trust in this appearance
ought to receive a first severe shock from the fact that both of ways exist side by side,
simultaneously, in the same bronchus of industry. " The compositors of London, as a
generate rule, work by the piece, time- work being the exception , while those in the country
work by the day, the excepting being work by the piece. The ship ring of to piece, while
those of all other parts work bye the day.
In the same saddlery shop of London, often for the same work , piece wages are paid to
the French, time wages to the English. In the regular factories in which thought-out piece
eagles predominate, particular kinds of work are unsuitable to this from of wages, and are
therefore paid by wage/ time. But it is sea evident that the difference of form the payment
of wages auteurs in on way their essential nature, although the one from may be more
favorable to the development of capitalist production than the other. Let the ordinary
working day contain 12 hours of which 6 are paid, 6 unpaid. Let its value -product be 6
shillings, that on one hours labor therefore 6d. Lt us suppose that as the result of experience
, a laborer who works with the are rage amount of intensity and skill, who, therefore, ginner
in fact only the time socially necessary to the production pieces, either distinct products or
mean-useable parts of a continuous whole. Then the value of these 24 pieces after.
Subtraction of the portion of contents capital contained in them, is 6 shilling, and the value
of single piece 3d. The laborer receives 1/0.5d . per piece, and thus earns in 12 hours 3
shilling. Just as, with time wages, it does not matter whether we assume that the laborer
works 6 hours for himself and 6 hour for the capitalist , so here it does not matter we say
that each individual piece is half paid , and half unpaid for , or that the price of 12pleces is
the equivalent only of the value of labor power , whilst in the other 12 pieces surplus- value
is incur pirated.

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The form of piece wages is just as irrational as that of time wages. Whilst in our example
two pieces of a commodity, after subtraction of our value of the means of production
consumed in them, are worth 6d. as being the product of one hour , the laborer receives for
them a pieces of 3d.Piece wages do not ,infect, distinctly express's any relation of value. It
is not therefore a question of meaning the value of the piece by the working time
incorporated in it. But on the country, of measuring the working time in the laborer has
expended by the number of pieces he has produced in time wages, the laborer is measured
by its immediate duration, in piece wage, by the quantity of products in which the labor
time in self is finally giver time. The piece labor time itself is finally determined by the
question value of labor power Piece wage is therefore only a modified form of time.
Let us now consider a little more closely the charge touristic peculiarities of piece wage.
i. The quantity of labor is here controlled by the work itself ,which must be of average
perfect piece wage became, from this point of view the most fruitful source
reduction of wage and capitalistic cheating.
ii. The furnish to the capitalist an exact measure for the intensity of labor. Only the
working time which is embodied in a quantum of commodities determined
beforehand, and experimentally fixed, counts as society necessary working time and
is paid as such In the larger workshop of the London trailer, therefore a certain piece
of work, a waistcoat is called an hour or half an hour, the hour at 6d. By practice it
is know now much is the average product at one hour. With new fashions, repairs a
contest arisen between master and laborer as to whether a particular piece of work
is one hour and or an until here also experience decides. Similarly in London
tincture workshops. In the laborer does not possess the overage capacity if, since
the quality and intensity of work here controlled by the form of wage itself.
iii. It is moreover now the personal interest of the labourer to lengthier the working day
since it has daily or weekly wages rise. This gradually brings on a reaction like that
already described in time wages without reasoning that the prolongation of the
working day, even if the piece wages remains contain includes of necessity a fall in
the price of the labour. In time wages, with few exceptions the some wage hold for
the some kind of work. whilst in piece wage, through the piece of the working time
is measured by a certain quantity of product, the day's or week's wage will very with
the individual differences of the labourers, of whom one supplies in a given time
the minimum of product only, the overage a third more than the overage.

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6. Exploitation In Price Wage
Marx's comments about how piece wages make it seem as if workers are paid for their
labor, not their labor power parallel those in the last chapter about time wages. If you work
a little more and are paid a little more, there would seem to be a correlation between your
work and your pay, in such a manner that you seem to be paid for your work, not your labor
power. It is only by examining the actual dynamic of piece work - how capitalists
manipulate the piece rates to keep the workers wages at the level of the value of the labor
power - that we see how appearances can be deceiving, or, how what may be true in the
short run (more work = more wages) is undermined in the long run (more work = same
wages, same value of labor power).

To get a detailed analysis of the kind of dynamic Marx described, you would do well to
read the book A Worker in a Worker's State by Miklos Haraszti. It's a short book and well
worth the effort. Haraszti worked in the "Red Star Tractor Factory" in Communist Hungary
where piece work was omnipresent and his book describes the dynamics of the struggles
between the workers and their managers in great detail. Indeed, the book reads like an
extended amplification of Marx's chapter on piece wages. Haraszti was caught smuggling
the manuscript out of Hungary, arrested and given a suspended sentence for his efforts. The
book was eventually published in the United States and is currently available from Pelican

7. Piece Wages and The Amount of Work

Marx draws on the reports of English factory inspectors to conclude that piece rates
generally make workers work faster, more intensely, especially, when piece rates are
lowered. But more generally he sees piece wages as "the form of wage most appropriate to
the capitalist mode of production" in large part because they facilitate speed-up. There are
other methods for forcing workers to work faster, of course, such as tying the workers'
speed to that of machines - the kind of thing he discussed in chapter 15 on machinery and
modern industry. But in the absense of such methods imposing piece wages and keeping
wages low forces speed-up. The same can, and has been, observed in the United States

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For example, in the vinyards of California many workers are paid piece wages while others
are paid hourly wages (an example of Marx's citation of piece and hourly wages existing
side-by-side). A study by a professor of the University of California gathered evidence that
confirmed the perpetuation of the tendency observed by the factory inspectors in England
and suggested by Marx's theory: pruners in the vinyards paid by the piece, work faster than
those paid by the hour. The former took on the average about 19 hours to prune an acre of
vinyard; the latter about 26 hours. The piece workers do earn a little more - $6.84 vs $6.20
per hour - but not much, about 10% more.

Growers in California, however, have noticed a draw-back to piece wages (that they and
their economists call "incentive pay programs"), namely that workers paid piece wages may
just walk off the job when they meet their income goals. In such cases any gain in work
due to increased intensity might be offset by a reduction in total labor time - a source of
considerable annoyance to the employers.

8. Piece Wages and Quality Control

That piece wages reduce the need for direct supervision doesn't mean that workers are left
entirely on their own. With standards set for the number of pieces produced (and hence the
time and intensity of work), the capitalist has to make sure that the workers don't create the
illusion of having met that standard by working fast but producing shoddy products. Hence
the need for "quality control". In any piece work situation, there must be quality control
inspectors who examine the quality of the pieces produced to make sure that the quality as
well as the amount and intensity of work time are up to snuff. If the number of pieces being
produced is large, then it is commonplace for only a random sample to be checked for
quality. If the number is small, all can be checked.

9. Piecework and Piece "wages" in Unwaged Work

While Marx's analysis is focused on formally waged work, it is not hard to see how in
capitalism its logic extends beyond that realm into various spheres of unwaged work. Not
only is much unwaged work organized by the task, rather than by the hour, but much
defacto payment for that work is also organized by the piece. As a result many of the
characteristics of piece work peculiar to capitalist industry are also to be found in various
parts of the larger social factory.

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10. Piece Work in Schools
Having just mentioned the piece-work character of the work of professors in universities,
it is not hard to see how those professors, and the university administrators for whom they
work, often imposed the same kind of logic on the students they are training for future
waged work. While in elementary and high school, students are kept at work for a
considerable set number of hours, and carefully supervised, at the university level this is
much less the case.

11. Findings
Marx worked for class. Marx thought the struggle for reforms was vitally important to
building a class conscious and revolutionary working class. The piece wage is the form of
wage most appropriate to the capitalist mode of production. Setting of piece rate is a source
of struggle between workers and capitalists. With piece work the need for direct
superintendence is reduce or even criminated. Workers are forced to work fast and well to
meet the going standard of production under the threat of not being rally paid, or losing
their job. Piece wage tend to produced hierarches of wage. Piece wage result in workers
being willing or even desirous, of longer working hours. They may be willing because of
lower piece rate make them want to work longer to maintain their total wage. Capitalist
people dominate the piece worker. They get low wage then those who work in hourly wage
system. They has no labour power. They sell their work. They sell their work they are
forced to work in extra hour. But they aren't paid for that work. In reaction to the unpleasant
nesses of piece work exploitation, workers of ten band together in self-defense. Or the one
sand they often fight for hourly wage instead of piece wage improve their situation. One
way they avoid this to cooperate to make sure that they not be piled against each other.
Everyone should work in same speed and get salary in equally.

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12. Conclusion
Piece wage is a payment according to the number of piece produced. Piece wage, it is
naturally the personal interest of the labourer to strain his labour power as intensely as
possible, this enable the capitalist to raise more easily the normal degree of intenisty of
labour. Piece wage gives to individually of labour piece wage give to individuality tends to
develop on the one hand that individuality, and with it the sense of liberty independence
and self-control of the labourers, and on the other, their competition one with another.
At last it is clearly seen that, piece wage is the form of wage most in harmony with the
capitalist mode of production. Although by no means new it figures side by side with time
wages, officially in the French and English. Piece wage based on the amount of work
performed. On the basis of output or productivity and not on the basis the time spent. Piece
wage are converted form of time wage and time wage converted form labour power.
Marx also gave his opinion regarding piece wage. It is basically a part of Marx its view of
wage system. It a topic of surplus value chapter. Piece wage different for the different
worker. Those who work in factory his wage different from those who work in mechanical
sector. In piece wage system labour get dominated by capitalist people. It is a capitalist
mode of production system. Many highly people gave their opinion about piece wage. In
piece wage system, labour has no power control. Sometimes they are forced to work extra.
But for that they don't get paid we developed in production system. Wage payment system
are the different methods adopted by organizations by which they remunerate labour. There
exist several system of employee wage payment and incentives, which can be classified
under the following name. According to the method of hourly rate of the time worker
consist of two parts, namely fixed and variable, the fixed element is based on the nature of
the job. The rate for this part is fixed on the basis of the job requirements. The variable
portion varies for each worker depending upon his merit rating and the cost of living index.

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 Wikipedia
 Transcribed by Bill Mc Dorman HTML Mankup by Stephen Baind 1999
Tags- Finance, Economy
 Marxist Thought (Chapter-21)

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