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Origin of black slavery as an instrument of capitalism in the United States


In this type of work we will talk a little about slavery as an instrument of capitalism in the colonies of the new world, especially in the United States.

Slavery, promoted and organized by Europeans in the Western Hemisphere between the 16th and 19th centuries, was not an accidental event in modern economic history. Rather, it was a crucial piece in the early stages of the formation of world capitalism and the beginning of accumulation in Britain.

Building a business enterprise from nature required a lot of labor. For much of the seventeenth century, the colonies Americans functioned as agricultural economies, driven in large part by indentured servitude. Most of the workers were poor and unemployed workers from Europe who, like others, had traveled to North America in search of a new life. In exchange for their work, they received food and shelter, a rudimentary education, and sometimes a trade.

In 1680, the British economy improved and more jobs were available in Britain. During this time, slavery had become a morally, legally, and socially acceptable institution in the colonies. As the number of European workers arriving in the colonies declined, enslaving Africans became a more acceptable and commercial necessity.

Between the mid-sixteenth century and the abolition in 1888 of trafficking in Brazil, and in 1865, the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution was approved, officially abolishing slavery.

Thus, on January 1, 1863, the Slave Emancipation Proclamation came into force, affecting only the Confederate states that had announced their separation from the United States (other slave states had declared loyalty to the Union). With this measure, Lincoln weakened the workforce and the economic and political strength of the rogue states.

More than 14 million people, mainly from West Africa and the Gulf of Guinea, were uprooted from their communities of origin to be deported to the European colonies of America. The "black cattle" allowed to promote what we could call the first export agriculture: the plantation economy.

Without a doubt, without the riches of America and without African slaves and without trade, the economic, political and military take-off of the states Europeans, and especially Great Britain, would have been limited to a smaller scale; maybe definitely minor.

Something that we must understand when analyzing slavery in all the colonies of the American continent, whether they are Spanish, Portuguese, French or British. In slavery, the black slave was seen as a commodity mainly when we talked about the British colonies and what we all know today as the United States.

The Origin of Black Slavery by Eric Williams

Eric Williams (1911-1981) in the first chapter of his book Slavery and Capitalism (2011) and entitled The Origin of Black Slavery. Williams' approach is that black slavery has its origin on the basis of white servitude and that the former was generated by a purely economic and non-racial motivation. In other words, black slavery was the mechanism that a plantation system found to save costs and maximize its benefits; In this regard, the historian tells us:

“Here, then, is the origin of black slavery. The reason was economic, not racial; It had nothing to do with the color of the worker, but with the low cost of his labor. Compared to the work of the Indians and whites, that of the black slave was eminently superior ”(p. 49).

Along the same lines, Williams states the following: “Black slavery, then, had nothing to do with the weather. Its origin can be expressed in three words: in the Caribbean, sugar; on the mainland, tobacco and cotton. A change in the economic structure produced a change in the supply of labor.

The fundamental fact was "the creation of an inferior economic and social organization, of the exploited and exploiters." Sugar, tobacco, and cotton required large plantations and hordes of cheap laborers.

Thus, the former white hired servant's small farm had no chance of survival. Tobacco from the small farm in Barbados was replaced by sugar from the large plantation. The growth of the sugar industry in the Caribbean was the sign of a gigantic dispossession of the small farmer ”.

On large plantations, slave labor was led by whites, the racial division of labor and wages occurred as a natural consequence of an economic fact: lowering the costs of the production system.

In this sense, racial rationalizations are produced to hide the first motivation, the economic one. The problem is that once the slave system is exhausted and given way to a wage labor regime, many of the devices and practices inherent to the slave system pass to the new mode of relationship as a cultural-social product.

The economic institution of extensive plantations based on the slave model of both whites and blacks will bring with it first the labor differentiation and, later, the cultural differentiation between whites and blacks; both established under the concept of differentiation of the races.

How did the institution of slavery arise in the United States?

The superiority of the black slave was that the large plantations had to have a large and unpaid labor force. Only in this way would the plantation system bear the expected fruits and could sustain the colonial economic system, based on its beginnings in the Indian encomienda system and nucleated on the basis of the rendering of tributes to the Crown.

He also wrote that: This is how, from the slave plantation model, the accumulation of capital is gestated in the New Continent.

America was not only the territory for the exploitation of the natural wealth that it housed in its fertile soil, it was also the space where the accumulation of capital is carried out from the slave model since the exploitation of blacks will only be possible, through The Williams Trial, under the pre-existing slave model and not under the wage-earning model.

Although white slavery also occurred on plantations, it did not have the same economic effect because of the costs it represented for the Crown and because black labor "was cheaper and better" (p. 50).

I want to dig a little deeper. a commodity which means that products are produced on a large scale for sale and cheap labor is needed to produce these products, but in the case of slavery, labor was mostly free. as was the case with the millions of slaves brought to America between the 16th and 19th centuries.

Large-scale mass production occurs most of the time when there were conflicts, and the captive individual almost always ended up becoming a slave; This relates mainly to the rights and limited tribalism of the colonial era in Africa in which many of these black African prisoners from other tribes were sold as merchandise to slave traders and transported in slave ships to the lands of the new world. what is known as the American continent.

In the case of slavery in the United States, however, there was a great demand for cheap labor in the market and slavery is institutionalized mainly because of this. That is the only difference compared to other types of slavery, and that is why I have said before that there is a connection between capitalism and American slavery.

Analyzing past events is an important part of making positive changes for the future. If you believe that American slavery did not leave any legacy in the historical and unconscious memory of those who were involved and their descendants, you are in a kind of life in a fantasy world.

What is the difference between slavery in the USA and other nations in America?

The only thing common to American slavery and other slavery is limited law. One of the main differences is the economic aspect of American slavery (which is strongly intertwined with the capital model). This can help to understand why blacks tend to be poorer than whites in a post-slavery society.

Why the slave system in America is so different from other slavery. The main factor is that other types of slavery are not combined with capitalism, while American slavery was fueled by capitalist greed for profit, be it Spanish, Portuguese, or English.

Although slavery in the United States "" disappeared, the capital system and the psychological and social consequences of the slave system still exist in American society. I want to remind you that work in general is still treated today as a type of merchandise under the law of supply and demand.

Before the civil war in the southern United States of America, it is a legitimate argument that the human being was used as property, as a basic product, black men their value was that they were slaves because the owners took care of them. in the same way that they dealt with their tools, whereas in the industrialized northern part of the United States the capitalists only dealt with "renting" the tools and this created an incentive to squeeze both the "free" slave and the other. your descendants as possible.

In other words, the capitalist system kept renting cheap tools in third world countries and squeezing these "tools" as much as possible.

The Europeans came and exterminated most of the indigenous population (Native Americans). They did not have enough manpower to cultivate the land and therefore they often have to bring in other Europeans. Due to the harsh conditions, the top of the hierarchy has to pay the lowest of the hierarchy quite a bit to create incentives; And these new arriving Europeans can often go to the border to make their own land. As a result, American capitalists always had to face a shortage of workers.

European workers have a lot of bargaining power. However, slavery solved all of that. In other words, slavery was an important part of the American capitalist engine for good performance in America's earliest phase. Given the degree of influence that the culture of capital has in contemporary America.

The system is rigged against the poor, against blacks and minorities in general. We have seen this with bank lending practices where minorities pay higher rates or are less likely to be approved for loans. We see it with stop and search.

We see it every day in the United States, but the problem is that most of the people in the United States are not black and they (the white population) are not affected, it is not a priority, so it will never be addressed. at once. . in a significative way.

Origin of institutionalized racism in the United States

I'm glad the issue of race is becoming more apparent, because race is still a problem for some people; racism against blacks, by whites and everyone else. And this issue of racism is derived to a great extent, in modern times, since the class difference is part of a hierarchical structure, race is almost always a real factor of hatred, but it is also an excuse to maintain status. quo by both factions. . But don't take my word for it, just look at the data and facts.

To get rid of racism and any type of discrimination, we have to end the absolute dominance of money and its influence in our governments, because until this happens, we cannot legislate for the good of all people. Racism and its consequences end when it no longer benefits those responsible financially, and at this time that is not the case.

When you look at the inequality of wealth, the difference in wages between blacks and whites Americans, but also those who occupy the highest executive positions, that tells you that American society is still run under a system based on race where the black descendants of the slaves occupy a low position, while the descendants of the white slave owners occupy a high position.

Many will say that slavery no longer exists in the United States that they are things of the past, but they fail to point out that the hierarchical system established during the slavery system still exists in the United States in practice and the mentality of many

Americans, which gives rise to that institutional racism that we all know. Society which is still managed under the same capitalist laws of supply and demand in which blacks were and are seen as merchandise, not as people who are part of American society.

Black slaves under a capitalist system supported by slavery did not have the opportunity to accumulate wealth. In a capitalist system controlled by white money, the possibilities of blacks to obtain wealth face the same challenges as their ancestors.

The slave system is still part of the collective mentality of white people, but also, unfortunately, of many black people and even more so when capital is controlled by whites.

Origin of black slavery as an instrument of capitalism in the United States Reviewed by egonard on September 04, 2021 Rating: 5

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