Coercive Capitalisms
Politico-economies of Slavery, Indentured Labour and Debt Peonage
in Inequality and Democratic Egalitarianism
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As a complement to the previous chapter, based on current scholarship and debates, this chapter demonstrates how deeply entwined slavery was with the development of industrial capitalism. Moreover, thriving slave economies were succeeded by new forms of bonded and unfree labour, rather than free wage labour, through to the middle of the 20th century. It argues that there is no purely economic incompatibility between capitalism and slavery, including in the present day. Only political struggles and new moralities replaced old forms of economic and power inequalities with the persistent inequalities of the present day. The chapter analyses the epistemological suppression of slavery and coerced labour within classical and modern economic conceptions of the abstract market economy.

Inequality and Democratic Egalitarianism

‘Marx’s Economy and Beyond’ and Other Essays

Editors: Mark Harvey and Norman Geras

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