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The slavery continuum

CarefulNow
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2/4/2013 4:09:53 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
The standard slavery continuum, from most to least oppressive, tends to focus on freedoms, particularly economic ones, the freer the better. Thus, the serf, who is free to withold labor, is freer and thus in a better spot than the chattel slave, but not as free (hence lucky) as the wage slave, who has the additional freedom of choosing his master.

But what happens when we look at specific forms within such categories? For instance, American slavery, though far worse than African slavery (which at least preserved the non-economic right of family cohesion), was clearly more benign than concentration camp slavery. In fact, differences in economic freedom pale in comparison. So let's generalize the difference between American slavery and concentration camp slavery, using a continuum from most master interest in the reproduction of labor power to least.

Clearly, concentration camp slavery is at one extreme, the objective of extermination, which implies a reduction in labor power to zero, dominating the objective of exploiting labor power.

Next is wage slavery. Because the wage slave is free to change masters, investments in the long-term productivity of the wage slave are dominated by the free rider effect, and thus the capitalist is indifferent to them.

Compare to the feudal lord, whose monopsonization of serf labor internalizes the benefit of and thus incentivizes the production of labor power. But internalization is not ownership, and the right to withold such labor power may be used by the serf to acquire a larger proportion of produce, thus reducing the lord's incentive to invest in said labor power in the first place.

The chattel slave master, on the other hand, owns the labor power, present and future, and thus monopolizes all economic benefits of its reproduction. But the benefits of reproduction of labor power are not purely economic. They include the health of the slave, which is to say the well-being. That's one reason American chattel slaves were in such better shape than the diseased hunchbacks working the capitalists' factories. And it's the reason many former chattel slaves, after emancipation, complained of the inferior conditions of wage slavery and indeed suggested the aforementioned indifference was the cause.
Noumena
Posts: 6,047
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2/4/2013 5:08:07 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
I'm a bit partial to the idea that slavery (or more precisely, 'coercion' as I mean it) is on a continuum rather than a precisely defined line with "bad" on one side and "permissible" on the other. Still, it seems like the premise hidden in this post was the assumption that they're all bad. Is that correct?
: At 5/13/2014 7:05:20 PM, Crescendo wrote:
: The difference is that the gay movement is currently pushing their will on Churches, as shown in the link to gay marriage in Denmark. Meanwhile, the Inquisition ended several centuries ago.
CarefulNow
Posts: 780
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2/4/2013 5:20:25 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 2/4/2013 5:08:07 PM, Noumena wrote:
I'm a bit partial to the idea that slavery (or more precisely, 'coercion' as I mean it) is on a continuum rather than a precisely defined line with "bad" on one side and "permissible" on the other. Still, it seems like the premise hidden in this post was the assumption that they're all bad. Is that correct?

Yes, all slaves are oppressed by their definitive lack of freedom to produce and consume without the mediation of masters. My point is only that, beyond that, there is a counterveiling relationship between economic freedom and oppression, specifically the slave's economic freedom reducing the master's interest in his well-being.
Ragnar_Rahl
Posts: 19,297
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2/6/2013 12:06:26 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
And it's the reason many former chattel slaves, after emancipation, complained of the inferior conditions of wage slavery and indeed suggested the aforementioned indifference was the cause.
Never heard of "Stockholm syndrome" I see. And also "The good old days."
It came to be at its height. It was commanded to command. It was a capital before its first stone was laid. It was a monument to the spirit of man.
CarefulNow
Posts: 780
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2/6/2013 1:46:50 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 2/6/2013 12:06:26 PM, Ragnar_Rahl wrote:
And it's the reason many former chattel slaves, after emancipation, complained of the inferior conditions of wage slavery and indeed suggested the aforementioned indifference was the cause.
Never heard of "Stockholm syndrome" I see. And also "The good old days."

I've heard of them and indeed know what they are and why they are. And when there's no rational explanation for a given preference, it's indeed appropriate to invoke reactive phenomena. But when a rational explanation is given, and it's consistent with the evidence (the material conditions of chattel slavery relative to wage slavery), speculating about neuroses is pointlessly insulting.
FREEDO
Posts: 21,057
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2/7/2013 1:38:33 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
Aptly put. I think people would do a great deal of good for their understanding to think of more things as a continuum, rather than "this" or "that", than they do now.
GRAND POOBAH OF DDO

fnord
Ragnar_Rahl
Posts: 19,297
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2/7/2013 2:20:25 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
The material conditions of chattel slavery is not a constant. You got your house slaves and your field slaves, even in just the American South. (and some masters might also have some slaves that are just there for breeding).
It came to be at its height. It was commanded to command. It was a capital before its first stone was laid. It was a monument to the spirit of man.
Ragnar_Rahl
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2/7/2013 2:21:17 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 2/7/2013 1:38:33 AM, FREEDO wrote:
Aptly put. I think people would do a great deal of good for their understanding to think of more things as a continuum, rather than "this" or "that", than they do now.

Even when it's absolutely false?
There is no continuum between the threat of force and no threat of force.
It came to be at its height. It was commanded to command. It was a capital before its first stone was laid. It was a monument to the spirit of man.
Ragnar_Rahl
Posts: 19,297
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2/7/2013 2:23:27 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 2/7/2013 2:20:25 PM, Ragnar_Rahl wrote:
The material conditions of chattel slavery is not a constant. You got your house slaves and your field slaves, even in just the American South. (and some masters might also have some slaves that are just there for breeding).

I'm willing to bet it was the house slaves that you were quoting above. Whose position relies on the existence of field slaves, who had materially worse conditions than any wage worker, for reasons of the lash if nothing else.
It came to be at its height. It was commanded to command. It was a capital before its first stone was laid. It was a monument to the spirit of man.
FREEDO
Posts: 21,057
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2/7/2013 4:48:41 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 2/7/2013 2:21:17 PM, Ragnar_Rahl wrote:
Even when it's absolutely false?
There is no continuum between the threat of force and no threat of force.

There certainly is.
GRAND POOBAH OF DDO

fnord
CarefulNow
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2/7/2013 5:46:46 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 2/7/2013 2:20:25 PM, Ragnar_Rahl wrote:
The material conditions of chattel slavery is not a constant. You got your house slaves and your field slaves, even in just the American South. (and some masters might also have some slaves that are just there for breeding).

No, the material conditions of neither chattel slavery nor wage slavery are constant. For instance, while chattel slaves fared only slightly better than American wage slaves, European wage slaves weren't so lucky.

http://books.google.com...
ZakYoungTheLibertarian
Posts: 253
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2/7/2013 5:49:08 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
Clearly you do not understand the word slavery if you think the voluntary interaction between an employer and employee constitutes slavery.
FREEDO
Posts: 21,057
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2/7/2013 6:05:21 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 2/7/2013 5:49:08 PM, ZakYoungTheLibertarian wrote:
Clearly you do not understand the word slavery if you think the voluntary interaction between an employer and employee constitutes slavery.

Are you sure that, rather, it is you, perhaps, who has made the mistake of defining political concepts around overly literal terms rather than focusing on their practical application?

I could force you not to eat.

Or I could pay everyone to keep food from you.

Same result.

Wage slavery is slavery by any practical measure.
GRAND POOBAH OF DDO

fnord
Ragnar_Rahl
Posts: 19,297
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2/8/2013 3:33:55 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 2/7/2013 4:48:41 PM, FREEDO wrote:
At 2/7/2013 2:21:17 PM, Ragnar_Rahl wrote:
Even when it's absolutely false?
There is no continuum between the threat of force and no threat of force.

There certainly is.
What the hell is and isn't a continuum supposed to mean, for that to be possible?
It came to be at its height. It was commanded to command. It was a capital before its first stone was laid. It was a monument to the spirit of man.
Ragnar_Rahl
Posts: 19,297
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2/8/2013 3:34:25 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 2/7/2013 5:46:46 PM, CarefulNow wrote:
At 2/7/2013 2:20:25 PM, Ragnar_Rahl wrote:
The material conditions of chattel slavery is not a constant. You got your house slaves and your field slaves, even in just the American South. (and some masters might also have some slaves that are just there for breeding).

No, the material conditions of neither chattel slavery nor wage slavery are constant. For instance, while chattel slaves fared only slightly better than American wage slaves, European wage slaves weren't so lucky.

http://books.google.com...
Just linking me to a book title doesn't do anything.
It came to be at its height. It was commanded to command. It was a capital before its first stone was laid. It was a monument to the spirit of man.
Ragnar_Rahl
Posts: 19,297
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2/8/2013 3:38:56 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 2/7/2013 6:05:21 PM, FREEDO wrote:
At 2/7/2013 5:49:08 PM, ZakYoungTheLibertarian wrote:
Clearly you do not understand the word slavery if you think the voluntary interaction between an employer and employee constitutes slavery.

Are you sure that, rather, it is you, perhaps, who has made the mistake of defining political concepts around overly literal terms
That's not a "mistake," that's the only way you can have a discussion outside the choir.

rather than focusing on their practical application?

I could force you not to eat.

Or I could pay everyone to keep food from you.
Lol good f***ing luck paying off 6 billion people, at which point I just become a farmer or something, assuming I don't just find a loophole in whatever contract you signed with them because you're obviously a moron to even attempt such a thing. Who took the bigger hit here materially?
(unless you mean "pay them to force me not to eat", in which case your meaning is just as asinine and inadequate to your attempted conclusion).


Wage slavery is slavery by any practical measure.
How is offering someone a job in any way comparable to your fantasy about paying off everyone to withhold food from someone?
It came to be at its height. It was commanded to command. It was a capital before its first stone was laid. It was a monument to the spirit of man.
CarefulNow
Posts: 780
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2/9/2013 4:00:47 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 2/8/2013 3:34:25 AM, Ragnar_Rahl wrote:
At 2/7/2013 5:46:46 PM, CarefulNow wrote:
http://books.google.com...
Just linking me to a book title doesn't do anything.

It's not just a title. Go to the afterword. I thought the link would take you right there, but apparently you have to scroll down or click on the link in the table of contents like I did.