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Why Chattel Slavery?

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Chapter Summary

While free" wage labor grew quantitatively more and more important in the course of time, the relative proportion of slavery was reduced worldwide. Among the general public, and also often among less well-informed historians, slavery is directly associated with brutal physical oppression. This chapter draws a comparison between three main types of slavery: there have been slaves who performed simple and unskilled labors under the supervision of the master; there have been slaves who performed skilled labors under the supervision of the master; and there have been slaves-for-hire who earned money without direct supervision from the master. The chapter talks about acquisition costs, training costs, supervision costs, maintenance costs, and replacement costs. It further illustrates the interaction between labor systems and broader social relations by considering a contrast between the South of the USA and Brazil.

Keywords: acquisition costs; chattel slavery; free wage labor; labor systems; slaves; supervision costs; training costs; unskilled labors



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