SLAVERY AND CAPITALISM READING LIST

jgoodguy

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From Slavery and Capitalism Reading List.
http://www.law.columbia.edu/sites/default/files/microsites/law-economics-studies/olmstead_-_cotton_slavery_and_history_of_new_capitalism_131_nhc_28_sept_2016.pdf

  • Caitlin C. Rosenthal: SLAVERY'S SCIENTIFIC MANAGEMENT: QUANTIFICATION ON PLANTATIONS
Also HT wausaubob
https://eh.net/book_reviews/slaverys-capitalism-a-new-history-of-american-economic-development/
 

jgoodguy

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Slavery and Capitalism - The Chronicle of Higher Education
By Sven Beckert DECEMBER 12, 2014

Chattering classes should attract attention around here, but note that this is a 5-year-old article.

Few topics have animated today’s chattering classes more than capitalism. In the wake of the global economic crisis, the discussion has spanned political boundaries, with conservative newspapers in Britain and Germany running stories on the "future of capitalism" (as if that were in doubt) and Korean Marxists analyzing its allegedly self-destructive tendencies. Pope Francis has made capitalism a central theme of his papacy, while the French economist Thomas Piketty attained rock-star status with a 700-page book full of tables and statistics and the succinct but decisively unsexy title Capital in the Twenty-First Century (Harvard University Press).​

There are lots of unanswered questions about slavery and capitalism which should generate a lot of chattering. Some critical questions are not firmly answered. Especially if slavery and capitalism are so intertwined like some Siamese twin, how did they go to war with each other?

There are still many open questions about slavery and capitalism, some specific, some broad. We have not yet conclusively shown, for example, how methods of labor control migrated from the world of the plantation to the world of the factory. We need more-detailed research on where the profits from slavery accumulated in Europe and the American North, and how they mattered to other sectors of the economy. We would benefit from a better understanding of how the tight economic connection between Northern entrepreneurs and slavery came to be undone. And we have only begun to account for what the rethinking of slavery does to our more general understanding of capitalism.​
 

jgoodguy

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Shackles and Dollars – A Summary
Methodology sinks many a fair article.

Baptiste argues that the tripling of daily cotton picking from the years 1805 and 1860 was driven by torture. Per the article “Baptiste describes how planters assigned picking quotas to slaves, whipped them if they failed to meet the targets, and steadily increased picking expectations for workers. Slaves avoided the lash by learning to pick faster.”

The prospect of torture, itself, is not driving the criticism by economists and historians. Alan Olmsted, a professor of economic history at UC-Davis, Trevon Logan, a professor of economics at (The) Ohio State University, and Paul Rhode, chair of economics and professor at the University of Michigan find the methodology behind the research to be troubling. They describe Baptist’s work as a book plagued by double counting, omitted contradictory evidence, and sources stretched too thin. The economists argue that little can be claimed without sound quantitative analysis. Historians seem to disagree.

Parry neatly sums up the great divide:

When economists gripe about historians retreating from economics, historians offer a counternarrative: “The problem is the economists left history for statistical model building,” says Eric Foner, a historian of 19th-century America at Columbia University. “History for them is just a source of numbers, a source of data to throw into their equations.” Foner considers counterfactuals absurd. A historian’s job is not to speculate about alternative universes, he says. It’s to figure out what happened and why. And, in the history that actually took place, cotton was extremely important in the Industrial Revolution.

To me, an economist in training, this article is not a discussion of diverging perceptions of slavery productivity between two disciplines; I see this as the divergence between exceptional and poor research.
As both a lay economist and lay historian.
 

jgoodguy

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Shackles and Dollars – A Summary
Methodology sinks many a fair article.

Continuing. Well it seems that both cotton and captialism continued on without slavery very well, thank you.

Counterfactuals, an economist’s best friend, show what the world would have looked like had only one thing been different. According to economists, claiming that an input is essential to an output implies that without the input, the output is impossible to create. However, this does not seem to be the case with slavery (the labor input) and cotton (the output). Douglas Irwin, a professor of economics at Dartmouth, rightly points out that cotton was grown elsewhere without slaves. Additionally, Irwin notes that cotton production continued to grow after the abolishment of slavery.

So, all things equal, we find ourselves, soon after the civil war, in a world where slavery does not exist, the implication of torturing your workers gone with it, yet cotton production does not fall.
 

5fish

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I think we must rethink that industrialization of fabrics gave slavery the juice it needed for rapid growth ... The efficiency of industrialization was a great evil... it drove the demand for slavery...

This link uses maps to explain the civil war: https://www.vox.com/2015/4/14/8396477/maps-explain-civil-war


Yes, the Civil War was about slavery
7) The Industrial Revolution sparked a cotton boom in the South
Henrico County Public Schools

The early 1800s were a time of rapid progress in weaving technology. And as the textile industries in Britain and New England boomed, demand for cotton surged. That boosted the economy of the American South, whose warm, moist climate and fertile soils were well-suited to producing cotton. This map shows how the South responded in the four decades prior to the Civil War. Cotton production expanded and intensified from Texas to North Carolina, and from Tennessee to Florida. By 1860, cotton comprised 60 percent of American exports, and almost all of it came from the South.

8) The cotton boom stimulated demand for slaves
James McPherson, Ordeal by Fire: Civil War and Reconstruction
It’s not a coincidence that this pair of maps looks so similar to the cotton maps above. Vast Southern cotton plantations relied heavily on slaves for the menial work of planting and harvesting cotton — so growing demand for cotton meant growing demand for slaves. Meanwhile, things were trending in the opposite direction in the North, where small-scale farms and industrialization limited the value of slave labor. So the United States became increasingly divided between an enslaved South and a free North.
 
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5fish

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The efficiency of production is what drove the growth of slavery... the mills need more and more cotton... because of efficiency in production cause the cost of cloths and fabrics to go down. It forces the south to increase its need for slaves to keep up with the mills...

The industrial revolution drove the southerners into institutionalized slavery into every bone of its society...
 
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