Confederate States of America
My copy of Robert Fogel and Stanley Engerman’s Time on the Cross: The Economics of American Negro Slavery arrived this morning. This excerpt sheds considerable light on what I mean by “Shattering the Golden Circle” or permanently breaking the Southern and Caribbean labor system, destroying our prosperity, and creating the “Third World” by applying the free labor ideology to the negro:
“The following are some of the principal corrections of the traditional characterization of the slave economy:
1. Slavery was not a system irrationally kept in existence by plantation owners who failed to perceive or who were indifferent to their best economic interests. The purchase of a slave was generally a highly profitable investment which yielded rates of return that compared favorably with the most outstanding investment opportunities in manufacturing.
2. The slave system was not economically moribund on the eve of the Civil War. There is no evidence that economic forces alone would have soon brought slavery to an end without the necessity of a war or some other form of political intervention. Quite the contrary; as the Civil War approached, slavery was an economic system was never stronger and the trend was toward even further retrenchment.
3. Slaveowners were not becoming pessimistic about the future of their system that preceded the Civil War. The rise of the secessionist movement coincided with a wave of optimism. On the eve of the Civil War, slaveowners anticipated unprecedented prosperity.
4. Slave agriculture was not inefficient compared with free agriculture. Economies of large-scale operation, effective management, and intensive utilization of labor and capital made southern slave agriculture 35 percent more efficient than the northern system of family farming.
5. The typical slave field hand was not lazy, inept, and unproductive. On average he was harder working and more efficient than his white counterpart.
6. The course of slavery in the cities does not prove that slavery was incompatible with an industrial system or that slaves were unable to cope with an industrial regimen. Slaves employed in industry compared favorably with free workers in diligence and efficiency. Far from declining, the demand for slaves was actually increasing more rapidly in urban areas than the countryside.
7. The belief that slave breeding, sexual exploitation, and promiscuity destroyed the black family is a myth. The family was the basic unit of social organization under slavery. It was to the economic interests of planters to encourage the stability of slave families and most of them did so. Most slave sales were either of whole families or of individuals who were at an age when it would have been normal for them to have left the family.
8. The material (not psychological) conditions of the lives of slaves compared favorably with those of free industrial workers. This is not to say they were good by modern standards. It merely emphasizes the hard lot of all workers, free or slave, during the first half of the nineteenth century.
9. Slaves were exploited in the sense that part of the income which they produced was expropriated by their owners. However, the rate of expropriation was much lower than has generally been presumed. Over the course of his lifetime, the typical slave field hand received about 90 percent of the income he produced.
10. Far from stagnating, the economy of the antebellum South grew quite rapidly. Between 1840 and 1860, per capita income increased more rapidly in the South than in the rest of the nation. By 1860 the South attained a per capita income that was high by the standards of the time. Indeed, a country as advanced as Italy did not achieve the same level of per capita income until the eve of World War II.
Everyone knows that the average White man in the South hated the planters and secretly yearned to a Yankee.
This poor oppressed soul had nothing better to do with his life. He yearned to be a “free laborer” in a Northern factory which would have made him, materially and economically, if not socially, effectively on the same level as a field hand with a name like “Jupiter” on a Mississippi plantation.