[Marxism] noise and worker's hearts

steve heeren tzsche at shaw.ca
Thu Nov 24 12:40:10 MST 2005


i don't know what you mean by "statistically small".  the sample itself was 
quite large (4000+). did you mean: small statistical SIGNIFICANCE?  but that 
was not reported in what you forwarded to us.

the finding of a 50% increase in heart attacks due to noisy environments is 
very significant IMHO (unless the increase was, say, from 1% to 1.5%, in 
which case i'm not too impressed)

more importantly, though, is this:  how does a researcher separate out a 
factor (noise levels) from the general alienation which characterizes most 
noisy workplace environments? - "alienation" in marx's manifold meaning, not 
alienation merely from the noise levels themselves.

my GUESS would be that there is a direct relationship between noise levels 
and an alienating work environment. and there is copious evidence of the 
effects of "alienation" on heart attack rates. (i'd have to dig out all my 
old resources to give you a direct reference, but the article that comes to 
mind is "Alienated labour, stress, and coronary disease", Garfield, Jon, 
International Journal of Health Services, Vol. 10, No. 4, 1980, which 
journal was edited at that time by a marxist professor of health studies at 
Johns Hopkins, Vicente Navarro)

in other words, is it the NOISE LEVELS which "cause" the increase in heart 
attack rates and for which there might be a "quick fix" (earplugs, etc.) so 
as to not upset the apple cart? or is it the total SEPARATION most workers 
feel from the processes and relations of production which "causes" the 
increase in heart attack rates, in which case the solution would be...

i'm excluding the fascinating findings on noise levels in the household, but 
some of these new vacuum cleaners drive me crazy, not to mention hair 
dryers, blenders, certain toys, etc.

i'm open to being corrected anywhere along the line of this argument.

steve heeren

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Les Schaffer" <schaffer at optonline.net>
To: "Activists and scholars in Marxist tradition" 
<marxism at lists.econ.utah.edu>
Sent: Thursday, November 24, 2005 8:59 AM
Subject: [Marxism] noise and worker's hearts

Statistically small but interesting study. note that 70 db (decibels) is
approximately the level of a vacuum cleaner or noisy traffic.

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