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Capitalism And Slavery

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Autor:   •  March 13, 2011  •  1,538 Words (7 Pages)  •  311 Views

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Capitalism: End Of The Slave Trade System or Reevaluated Economic Stimulus.

Like many others demoralized cultures during the Atlantic Slave trade period, Africans fell victim to the sixteenth century discovery of Columbus' so called "New World." Europeans used the Atlantic Slave Trade to capitalize on Columbus' so called "Discovery." For more than three centuries, the regions of Africa were in a state of destabilization. More than thirty million Africans were taken out of Africa and put in the Americas and surrounding countries.

The horrors of the New World Atlantic Slave trade system cannot be expressed in figures along. The humanitarian and cultural losses are staggering. Throughout this period, more than a million and a half died during the passage to the New World. Large numbers died beforehand and nearly a tenth died within a year of landing. The slave population in the Americas reached a staggering 33,000 in 1700, nearly three million in 1800 and pecked at over six million in 1850. The soul purpose of these race-based migrations was forced labor. Slavery was a major institution in western antiquity. Slave trade opened up profitable markets for the investment of the cash surpluses accrued by merchants, as well as monarchs, aristocrats, guilds and clergy. This institution facilitated the rise of the capitalist classes, which ultimately became the ruling classes in the western countries. The transatlantic slave trade in Africa reached its height in the 200 years between 1650 and 1850. However, during the early 1800 hundreds, merchants, monarchs, rulings class whites, and influential politicians began to question slavery's motivations, effectiveness, cost and profitability. All these factors were taken into consideration in an attempt to replace slavery and the plantation system with capitalism and paid labor. Through a historical, economical, and systematic prospective it can be inferred that the greatest divide in western civilization was capitalist paid labor vs. slave labor as a means towards the end of slavery.

Capitalism is a social system based on the principle of individual rights . During the raced-based forced labor period, slaves had no individual rights or principle. In fact, capitalism in some instances increased the degree of dehumanization and depersonalization hidden in the institution of slavery. While it had been normal in other forms of slavery for the slave to be legally defined as a thing, a piece of property, in America, capital was the motivating factor. Besides being a piece of property, the American slave was transformed into part of the plantation machine, a part of the ever-growing investment in the master' growing wealth. Slaves were strictly controlled to fill the needs of a highly organized productive system with which had sense attuned towards the driving forces of a competitive free enterprise. Slaves worked under terrible and dreadful conduction for extensive operational hours. Although the general consciences of slaves were less than human, the treatment of slaves varied depending on location and owner. Sometimes slaves were treated cruelly, at other times with kindness. They were more often used as a sign of affluence, a way of displaying one's wealth and of enjoying luxury, rather than as the means for the regular growth of wealth. American masters were probably no crueler and no more sadistic than others, and, in fact, the spread of humanitarianism in the modern world may have made the opposite true. Nevertheless, their capitalistic mentality firmly fixed their eyes on minimizing expenses and maximizing profits.

In order to minimize expenses and maximize profits, plantation owners had to exploit production of materials as well as numbers of personnel. The most effective way of doing so was to provide shelter for slaves but no monetary compensation. These gave save no incentive and motivation to work and produce product. As a result slaves would often rebel against plantation owners. Adam Smith a radical revolutionary on western philosophy apposed the institution of forced no monetary compensation labor. Adam Smith's "Book Wealth Of nations" discusses his philosophy and motivation for salaried labor. Smith argued that the institution was just one more artificial restraint on individual self-interest. "THIS division of labor, from which so many advantages are derived, is not originally the effect of any human wisdom, which foresees and intends that general opulence to which it gives occasion. It is the necessary, though very slow and gradual consequence of a certain propensity in human nature, which has in view no such extensive utility; the propensity to truck, barter, and exchange one thing for another."

If a man had no hope of property, Smith thought, he would obviously work badly. He based his beliefs from experience of all ages and nations. "Work done by freemen comes cheaper in the end than that performed by slaves." That sentence was immensely influential in the slave labor plantation system. Smith's interpretation was taken exceptionally serious because unlike most who were opposes to slavery based on factors such as religion and moral belief, Smith never mention moral or religion regarding slavery as a factor in his book "Wealth of Nations".

Slave owners and businessmen alike nationwide took interest in Adam Smith's philosophy. Plantation owners began to reevaluate the effectiveness of their forced labor non-pay accommodation system. Many slave owners began to consider eliminating slavery as their means of capital and social status. However the opposition to Smith philosophy was just as strong. Many slave owners were content with the slave system and its profitability. Marxists an influential


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