Does not compute

And this trade in human beings meant that you got free labor in the colonies in the Caribbean, in the Americas, and so on.

Sigh. If you buy the laborer then the labour isn’t free, is it? The labour costs that capital cost, the price of the labourer, divided by the number of years of labour gained. Plus, obviously, the operating costs of the labour.

Slave labour might well have been cheaper, but it wasn’t free.

Where primary commodities were produced at very suppressed prices, these primary commodities in their sale brought huge profits and this profit margin is what created the capital sums for the emergence of capitalism. That’s the origin of it. 30% of the British Midlands capital formation took place through the drain of wealth from India.

That’s the next sentence. Which doesn’t make all that much sense, given that slave labour wasn’t used in India……

And today, the debt crisis, the burden on so called developing countries is over $11 trillion. There is no way these countries can ever pay it; and in the current Coronavirus recession it is an impossible payment for them. This year developing countries have to pay almost $4 trillion in debt servicing. That’s not the $11 trillion principle. This is to service the debt, and it’s not possible.

Entirely bollocks. They ain’t paying a 40% interest rate whatever the actual sums outstanding might be.

At which point I got bored with the nonsense.

14 thoughts on “Does not compute”

  1. …the drain of wealth from India.

    This doesn’t make sense. Unless the author thinks that the Brits didn’t engage in trade with the
    Indians, but simply stole stuff from them.

    Of course they’re not actually arguing in good faith; they just want to demonise White people.

  2. And today, the debt crisis, the burden on so called developing countries is over $11 trillion. There is no way these countries can ever pay it;

    Yes, I’m sure the Chinese Communist Party will fall for this one.

  3. A nit-pick:

    “given that slave labour wasn’t used in India…” Well, it was by Indians. Presumably by Moslem Indians and, for all I know, Hindus too. The slave trade from East Africa to India is a recognised historical fact and long predates the coming of the European navigators.

  4. When I was a kid I knew someone who’d been in the US Army Air Force as a crewman flying the hump in WW2. I remember him telling me that he saw chains of slaves yoked together then. I don’t remember if he was referring to China or India, but if his story is to be believed there was slavery within the past century. Not practiced by the Brits perhaps, but still going on.

  5. Tangentially, did the Japanese ever pay reparations to the countries where they worked several million of the inhabitants to death in forced labour camps? Or do the slitty eyed yellow fellas get a free pass?

  6. “he saw chains of slaves”: how did he know? How could he distinguish them from criminal prisoners or even prisoners of war?

  7. I don’t really know, but I do remember him commenting that there was still slavery in this world. I suppose that if they had been POWs they would have been Japanese, but he didn’t say that. I do remember him saying that they wore neck yokes. I’m inclined to believe him but obviously it can’t be proved.

  8. Free labour… Not with slaves.. Economically they are “autonomous” tools that require housing, clothing, food, training, etc. So you’re investing in their purchase, and their upkeep.
    Especially if you don’t do the second, you may rapidly end up not getting your investment back, and bleed money all around..

    The ancient greeks and romans already had a lot to say about those things, including the above and why you do not maltreat your slaves.
    The arabs never seem to have cared much for that, they simply went to get more..

    I think the only setup that got you mostly free labour was the “Company Store/Housing” setup.
    And that particular nasty trick is not classed as slavery..

  9. @bis
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/War_reparations#:~:text=to%20Japanese%20trade.-,World%20War%20II%20Japan,by%20it%20during%20the%20war.&text=Payments%20of%20reparations%20started%20in,years%20and%20ended%20in%201977.

    Yes, the Japanese did pay war reparations.

    As for this colossal piece of nonsense, I don’t know where these cretins are getting their data from. The World Bank shows that total external debt of low and middle income countries is $8 trillion. Of this only $3 trillion is owed by government or publicly guaranteed entities, although there is a further $2 trillion of short term external debt, some of which might be government. The rest is owed by the private sector. As for debt service, including all external debt, low and middle income countries paid $222 billion and had principal repayments of $860 billion (most of which would no doubt have been rolled over).

    https://openknowledge.worldbank.org/bitstream/handle/10986/34588/9781464816109.pdf?sequence=4&isAllowed=y

  10. Unless the author thinks that the Brits didn’t engage in trade with the
    Indians, but simply stole stuff from them.

    This is a regular trope amongst Marxists. I was told this at school, albeit by a sociology teacher: ergo it was a lie.

  11. openDemocracy is owned and published through a non-profit foundation. It has been funded by a number of philanthropic organisations, including the Mott Foundation, Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust, Ford Foundation, David and Elaine Potter Foundation, Lush, Andrew Wainwright Trust and the Network for Social Change.

    There’s a living to be made grifting from foundations. No wonder Ritchie always has his nose in their trough.

    Having seen the deep pockets that you’re up against, I’d better send you another tenner.

  12. The British economy took after it lost its major slave colony. Germany became rich without a slave involved. How to explain that?

    Slavery makes some individuals wealthy, but doesn’t make economies stronger. Because it reduces productivity per person.

    You’d think Marxists, of all people, would get the idea of industrialisation.

  13. ‘the only setup that got you mostly free labour was the “Company Store/Housing” setup’

    I’ve read only one intelligent account of the company store myth. It demolished it in a sentence or two.

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