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  • © 2017

The Poverty of Slavery

How Unfree Labor Pollutes the Economy

Palgrave Macmillan
  • Refutes claims that slavery aids economic growth and development

  • Redefines and broadens the spectrum of unfree labor

  • Succinct but historically and geographically comprehensive

  • Uses the theory of externalities in lieu of standard neoclassical analysis

Buying options

eBook USD 44.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • ISBN: 978-3-319-48968-1
  • Instant PDF download
  • Readable on all devices
  • Own it forever
  • Exclusive offer for individuals only
  • Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout
Softcover Book USD 59.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)

Table of contents (8 chapters)

  1. Front Matter

    Pages i-ix
  2. Yet Another Half Untold

    • Robert E. Wright
    Pages 1-17
  3. Various Degrees of Liberty

    • Robert E. Wright
    Pages 19-38
  4. A Not So Peculiar Institution

    • Robert E. Wright
    Pages 39-71
  5. Slavery Resilient

    • Robert E. Wright
    Pages 73-115
  6. That Which Is Seen: Enslavers’ Profits

    • Robert E. Wright
    Pages 117-141
  7. That Which Is Unseen I: Slavery’s Pollution

    • Robert E. Wright
    Pages 143-197
  8. That Which Is Unseen II: Slavery’s Hidden Costs

    • Robert E. Wright
    Pages 199-232
  9. Real Abolition

    • Robert E. Wright
    Pages 233-247
  10. Back Matter

    Pages 249-302

About this book

This ground-breaking book adds an economic angle to a traditionally moral argument, demonstrating that slavery has never promoted economic growth or development, neither today nor in the past. While unfree labor may be lucrative for slaveholders, its negative effects on a country’s economy, much like pollution, drag down all members of society. Tracing the history of slavery around the world, from prehistory through the US Antebellum South to the present day, Wright illustrates how slaveholders burden communities and governments with the task of maintaining the system while preventing productive individuals from participating in the economy.

Historians, economists, policymakers, and anti-slavery activists need no longer apologize for opposing the dubious benefits of unfree labor. Wright provides a valuable resource for exposing the hidden price tag of slaving to help them pitch antislavery policies as matters of both human rights and economic well-being.

Keywords

  • negative externality
  • human trafficking
  • forced labor
  • sex slavery
  • sexual exploitation
  • labor
  • chattel
  • coerced labor
  • emancipation
  • market failure
  • abolition

Reviews

“Wright’s book ought to be considered as the synthesis of an underappreciated analytical tradition regarding the broader economic consequences of slavery.” (EH.Net, May, 2018) “This book is a vigorous rejoinder to the oft-repeated historical claim that immense profits derived from slavery powered the development of today's all-consuming system of globalized capitalism. When arguing persuasively for the contrary view, that slavery produced impoverishment, not affluence, Robert Wright marshals arguments based on a truly encyclopedic familiarity with slavery systems the world over, in the past as well as in the present. The debate that this book should initiate is very much welcome and timely in the extreme.” (James Brewer Stewart, Founder, Historians Against Slavery)

Authors and Affiliations

  • Augustana University, Sioux Falls, USA

    Robert E. Wright

About the author

Robert E. Wright is the Nef Family Chair of Political Economy at Augustana University, USA. He has co/authored or co/edited two dozen books on US economic history and policy, including Corporation Nation, Fubarnomics, and One Nation Under Debt. He has served on the board of Historians Against Slavery, an NGO, since 2012.

Bibliographic Information

  • Book Title: The Poverty of Slavery

  • Book Subtitle: How Unfree Labor Pollutes the Economy

  • Authors: Robert E. Wright

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-48968-1

  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan Cham

  • eBook Packages: Economics and Finance, Economics and Finance (R0)

  • Copyright Information: The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2017

  • Softcover ISBN: 978-3-319-48967-4

  • eBook ISBN: 978-3-319-48968-1

  • Edition Number: 1

  • Number of Pages: IX, 302

  • Topics: Microeconomics, Labor Economics, Economic History

Buying options

eBook USD 44.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • ISBN: 978-3-319-48968-1
  • Instant PDF download
  • Readable on all devices
  • Own it forever
  • Exclusive offer for individuals only
  • Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout
Softcover Book USD 59.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)