Comparative slavery thesis

In practice, neither the Church nor the courts offered much protection to Latin American slaves. Access to freedom was greater in Latin America, but in many cases masters freed sick, elderly, crippled, or simply unneeded slaves in order to relieve themselves of financial responsibilities.

Death rates among slaves in the Caribbean were one-third higher than in the South, and suicide appears to have been much more common. Unlike slaves in the South, West Indian slaves were expected to produce their own food in their “free time,” and care for the elderly and the infirm.

The largest difference between slavery in the South and in Latin America was demographic. The slave population in Brazil and the West Indies had a lower proportion of female slaves, a much lower birthrate, and a higher proportion of recent arrivals from Africa. In striking contrast, southern slaves had an equal sex ratio, a high birthrate, and a predominantly American-born population.

Slavery in the United States was especially distinctive in the ability of the slave population to increase its numbers by natural reproduction. In the Caribbean, Dutch Guiana, and Brazil, the slave death rate was so high and the birthrate so low that slaves could not sustain their population without imports from Africa. The average number of children born to an early nineteenth-century southern slave woman was —twice as many as in the West Indies.

In the West Indies, slaves constituted 80 to 90 percent of the population, while in the South only about a third of the population was enslaved. Plantation size also differed widely. In the Caribbean, slaves were held on much larger units, with many plantations holding 150 slaves or more. In the American South, in contrast, only one slaveholder held as many as a thousand slaves, and just 125 had over 250 slaves. Half of all slaves in the United States worked on units of twenty or fewer slaves; three-quarters had fewer than fifty.

These demographic differences had important social implications. In the American South, slaveholders lived on their plantations and slaves dealt with their owners regularly. Most planters placed plantation management, supply purchasing, and supervision in the hands of black drivers and foremen, and at least two-thirds of all slaves worked under the supervision of black drivers. Absentee ownership was far more common in the West Indies, where planters relied heavily on paid managers and on a distinct class of free blacks and mulattos to serve as intermediaries with the slave population.

Another important difference between Latin America and the United States involved conceptions of race. In Spanish and Portuguese America, an intricate system of racial classification emerged. Compared with the British and French, the Spanish and Portuguese were much more tolerant of racial mixing—an attitude encouraged by a shortage of European women—and recognized a wide range of racial gradations, including black, mestizo, quadroon, and octoroon. The American South, in contrast, adopted a two-category system of race in which any person with a black mother was automatically considered to be black.

In Mauritania , the last country to abolish slavery (in 1981), [83] it is estimated that up to 600,000 men, women and children, or 20% of the population, are enslaved with many used as bonded labour . [84] [85] [86] Slavery in Mauritania was criminalized in August 2007. [87] (although slavery as a practice was legally banned in 1981, it was not a crime to own a slave until 2007). [88] Although many slaves have escaped or have been freed since 2007, as of 2012 [update] , only one slave-owner had been sentenced to serve time in prison. [89]

Research and consultancy expertise in the Centre covers a range of issues. We have a number of research associates who complement the skills and expertise of the core CCHR team. The team often work in partnership with other organisations to deliver projects on a wide range of themes.  These include, for example: housing theory, social housing management, resilience of frontline housing officers, Gypsy/Traveller accommodation issues, asset based community development approaches, conflict resolution, and evaluation of housing/employment projects:

All this can make the relationship between trade, technology and growth quite complicated. For example, freer trade does not necessarily mean faster growth all the time. If a country's comparative advantage lies in slow-growing, traditional industries, it may cut back its production in other, faster-growing industries, so its growth rate may fall. But later on it will benefit from the technical advances of countries with a comparative advantage in faster-growing industries, which will give it better computers, more advanced drugs and so forth than if every country had tried to make everything for itself. Slower growth in the short run might therefore be balanced by faster growth in the long term.

In addition, the Dominican friars who arrived at the Spanish settlement at Santo Domingo in 1510 strongly denounced the enslavement of the local Indians. Along with other priests, they opposed their treatment as unjust and illegal in an audience with the Spanish king and in the subsequent royal commission. [83] As a response to this position, the Spanish monarchy's subsequent Requerimiento provided a religious justification for the enslavement of the local populations, on the pretext of refusing conversion to Roman Catholicism and therefore denying the authority of the Pope. [84]

Comparative slavery thesis

comparative slavery thesis

All this can make the relationship between trade, technology and growth quite complicated. For example, freer trade does not necessarily mean faster growth all the time. If a country's comparative advantage lies in slow-growing, traditional industries, it may cut back its production in other, faster-growing industries, so its growth rate may fall. But later on it will benefit from the technical advances of countries with a comparative advantage in faster-growing industries, which will give it better computers, more advanced drugs and so forth than if every country had tried to make everything for itself. Slower growth in the short run might therefore be balanced by faster growth in the long term.

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