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The nature of slavery

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Someone should say that slavery is not illegal. It is a common financial arrangement between creditors and debtors, which has existed at least since the Code of Hammurabi.

 

We can regulate slavery, but we can't eliminate it. A slave is another person's personal property. Anyone with a credit card can become another person's personal property.

 

:thumbup:  :)  

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Someone should say that slavery is not illegal. It is a common financial arrangement between creditors and debtors, which has existed at least since the Code of Hammurabi.

 

We can regulate slavery, but we can't eliminate it. A slave is another person's personal property. Anyone with a credit card can become another person's personal property.

 

:thumbup:  :)  

this is an interesting way to look at it for sure...

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Someone should say that slavery is not illegal. It is a common financial arrangement between creditors and debtors, which has existed at least since the Code of Hammurabi.

 

We can regulate slavery, but we can't eliminate it. A slave is another person's personal property. Anyone with a credit card can become another person's personal property.

 

:thumbup:  :)

Let's not make this a petty semantic debate. Surely there is a distinction since what you are talking about is a voluntary agreement.

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Someone should say that slavery is not illegal. It is a common financial arrangement between creditors and debtors, which has existed at least since the Code of Hammurabi.

 

 

No. Olaudah Equiano was kidnapped from his home in West Africa and forced to do backbreaking labor on Caribbean islands with virtually no chance of legal release. It was legal to beat him to death, and if he acquired a family, he could be separated from it against his will.

 

Susie she-who-has-bad-credit has serious problems, and I don't want to understate the problems of poverty, but obviously she is in a much better position than Equiano.

 

There's such a thing as legally sanctioned institutional slavery, and the United States made it illegal in the 13th amendment.

Edited by Chris-M

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Let's not make this a petty semantic debate. Surely there is a distinction since what you are talking about is a voluntary agreement.

 

Yes, I might have felt that way when Mr C, my seventh grade history teacher, asked the class to define slave.

 

However, I have found that I own other people's labor just like Frederick Douglass' master owned his labor in Up From Slavery. My father invests for me. One of the companies is Citi Bank. If a person has a balance on a Discover or Sears credit card, that person's interest payments pay my dividends, so in that circumstance, I own his or her labor, and that person (or a prorated portion thereof) is my slave.

 

:thumbup:  :)

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Yes, I might have felt that way when Mr C, my seventh grade history teacher, asked the class to define slave.

 

However, I have found that I own other people's labor just like Frederick Douglass' master owned his labor in Up From Slavery. My father invests for me. One of the companies is Citi Bank. If a person has a balance on a Discover or Sears credit card, that person's interest payments pay my dividends, so in that circumstance, I own his or her labor, and that person (or a prorated portion thereof) is my slave.

 

:thumbup:  :)

 

Labor property is not a robust definition of slavery. By that logic, a millionaire author who loves what she does who has contracted to write a book for her publisher is a "slave" because she is legally required to write the book. This is semantic silliness.

Edited by Chris-M

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Let's not make this a petty semantic debate. Surely there is a distinction since what you are talking about is a voluntary agreement.

 

 

Labor property is not a robust definition of slavery. By that logic, a millionaire author who loves what she does who has contracted to write a book for her publisher is a "slave" because she is legally required to write the book. This is semantic silliness.

 

 

While there's an obvious difference between J.K. Rowling and Equino (and between a credit card holder and Equino), there's less of a difference between Bill I-Can't-Keep-Up-With-The-Rent-Plan-That-I-Voluntarily-Entered-Into-Because-My-Family-Was-Homeless and Equino. Obviously differing in severity, not so obviously an entirely different thing.

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While there's an obvious difference between J.K. Rowling and Equino (and between a credit card holder and Equino), there's less of a difference between Bill I-Can't-Keep-Up-With-The-Rent-Plan-That-I-Voluntarily-Entered-Into-Because-My-Family-Was-Homeless and Equino. Obviously differing in severity, not so obviously an entirely different thing.

 

 

If you'd like to make a separate topic about this, I'll reply, but we're getting deep into an argument irrelevant to the thread. 

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While there's an obvious difference between J.K. Rowling and Equino (and between a credit card holder and Equino), there's less of a difference between Bill I-Can't-Keep-Up-With-The-Rent-Plan-That-I-Voluntarily-Entered-Into-Because-My-Family-Was-Homeless and Equino. Obviously differing in severity, not so obviously an entirely different thing.

 

 
The big difference between Bill and Equiano is that Bill exists as a citizen of the state privy to all the rights and privileges implied. He enjoys the full protection of the law and he can enjoy the benefits of whatever welfare system his government employs (which, in my opinion, should be relatively generous). Although his employer might exercise a great deal of unjust power over Bill, he cannot abrogate any of his legal rights in a serious way without breaking the law and risking everything that follows from that.
 
Equiano, by contrast, does not enjoy the protection of the law and received none but arbitrary welfare. His murder would have been legal, to cast the most salient example, though there are many other cases that might be described. 
 
While you could argue that the contemporary poor enjoy no benefits or practical freedom as a result of their legal citizenship, I'm skeptical of such claims.
Edited by Chris-M

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So, I finally have a bit of time and the gumption to respond to this.

 

The contemporary poor do enjoy certain rights and privileges, but even Equiano enjoys the privilege of being alive while he is. It seems to me that you are asserting that at some point the situation of Equiano-as-slave becomes something different depending on the level of privilege extended to him. Once he has, say, certain legal structures defending his right to a 30 minute lunch period, he ceases to be a slave or once he has the right to legal representation regardless of his ability to pay, he ceases to be a slave. The idea that the individual's rights can be trespassed on in a way which is not serious seems arbitrary.

 

It is a strong assertion to claim that once Equiano begins to have some ability to influence his employer or his employer's employer, he ceases to be a slave. However, it is not clear that Equiano-as-agent is the case in that scenario except insofar as he actually can influence them as an equal, which is to say, by reason rather than "might makes right". If he cannot, then he can change some aspects and gain remarkable victories like better working conditions, better living conditions, etc, but he will not have changed the basic power structure which he had when he was a worker on a plantation. I'm not saying that both existences are the same, that the life of a middle-class American should be equated with a slave, but I am saying that the amount of suffering isn't the thing I'm principally concerned with since that seems ancillary to a social order which tends towards unjust relations.

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