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The Economic Riddles of the Institution of Slavery - Assignment Example

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This paper explores the economic reasons, which stipulated the incidence of slavery in the United States. Fogel and Engerman argued against the premise, that slavery was unproductive. They considered slave labor as being more efficient than free labor. Their views are expounded in the paper…
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The Economic Riddles of the Institution of Slavery
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Download file to see previous pages They discovered that the common situation of the black community, particularly the degree of slave breeding, licentiousness, and sexual abuse, to have been very much overstated or inaccurate (Thornton 1994). In reality, the material or physical situations of the slave were not considerably different from that of the free worker; they assumed that slaves were permitted to own ’90 percent of lifetime productivity (only 10 percent exploitation)’ (Thornton 1994, 25). Therefore, if the assumption of Fogel and Engerman is valid, then what were the possible economic reasons for the demise of slavery in antebellum South? Economic Inefficiency of Slave Labor Given Fogel’s and Engerman’s argument, free labor and slavery becomes similar to servitude in the sense that they may give to the owners all the profits of trade beyond what is needed for the subsistence of the workers; but they have this distinction, relevant for American rationales, that they allow labor to be geographically transferred, as servitude keeps it provincially bonded. By opting for these enabling types of servitude instead of the one which would have tied the workers to the land, the pioneers of the colonial administration in trade probably believed they had prevented all economic obstacles in the territories. Nevertheless, their mechanism was projected to resolve the problems of a situation where the option was between free labor and slave labor. As decades passed and laborers mushroomed in America, the servitude structure for White settlers was rapidly abolished; but bonded labor or slavery for most of the Negroes continued as an essential aspect of economic life (Phillips 1959). Whether this was beneficial or unfavorable to the...
This paper presents a comprehensive review of economic views of Fogel and Engerman on the efficiency of slave labor. The long-established analysis of the economics of slavery in the United States is evidently wide-ranging and intricate: slavery was economically primitive, unproductive, and futile. Yet, Fogel and Engerman argued against the premises and tried to prove that slavery was quite cost-effective.In order to support their thesis, they computed the ‘ratio of output to a weighted sum of inputs’ in free and slave agriculture, and compare the results. Rooted in a historical procedure that depends on the unearthing of new information and depends on ‘technical mathematical points’ , this model transformed slavery in the antebellum South from an oppressive structure to one that is currently regarded to have been more efficient and cost-effective than the North’s free labor structure.
Starting with a description of the relative primitiveness of the South in economic progress, several scholars argue, mostly in reaction to Fogel’s and Engerman’s controversial thesis, that the institution of slavery is the root of the South’s backwardness.The individual prosperity which has taken that shape has contribute nothing to the community’s riches: Slavery merely serves to appropriate the wages of labor—it distributes wealth, but cannot create it. It entails cost in obtaining early population, then functions to hamper industry diversification and land developments, limiting, in fact, even the expansion of agriculture ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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