Does Andrew have a point when it comes to his opinions on the well-being of the serfs? Pierre's efforts to help them failed miserably. The schools and hospitals presumably stayed empty and efforts to decrease their workload actually forced some of them to work more. Prince Andrew tells Pierre that it is natural for them to do physical labor- that they need to work in order to be happy just as Andrew needs to contemplate life. Obviously he thinks that he is far superior to the serfs. So superior does he think himself that he calls their condition animalistic. He takes their humanity away and speaks of them like they are objects. There is no way that Andrew could possibly know what they want or what they are thinking and to assume that he does is extremely condescending and frankly terrible. Is there anything that can be done to actually help them or will those changes make things harder somewhere else?
As I read this section, I thought back to the interactions between Pierre and the chief steward who suggested that it would be impossible for them to be happier than they were at that time under Pierre. What would happen if the serfs were freed? Where would they go? They would have no money or easy means with which to get money. In fact, I wonder if the only way for them to get a job would be to become indentured servants at another estate. They would get nothing out of the ordeal except for a less stable job with perhaps a crueler boss.
This situation is similar to when the slaves were freed in America, except then, some vague efforts were being made to help them. Despite these efforts, many freed people wound right back up as slaves of indentured servitude. It seems to be that in Russia at this time, a serf had a brighter future enslaved than freed.