Did slavery really make Britain rich?

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mercalia
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Did slavery really make Britain rich?

Postby mercalia » 19 Jun 2020, 3:16pm

It’s a sad truth that much of our wealth was derived from the slave trade', said London’s mayor Sadiq Khan.

seems like maybe not.

Slavery and sugar did not provide the sinews of finance that drove industrialisation. Total profits from the slave trade, had they been invested entirely in Britain, would have accounted for about three per cent of all capital formation in 1770. These profits, vast as they were for some individuals, were too small to change a nation,


...And for the country as a whole, the Caribbean colonies were not profitable. They functioned because the government levelled tariffs on cheaper sugar produced by competing European powers, and because the costs of naval protection were borne by the taxpayer. British national income would arguably have been considerably higher if the colonies had been given away; this is a story repeated across the old Empire. So why did Britain bear these costs? Put simply because the interests of wealthy plantation owners and traders were well-represented in a Parliament where seats could be bought.

https://www.spectator.co.uk/article/did-britain-s-wealth-really-come-from-the-slave-trade-?

so all those BLM-ers who want to make us all feel guilty, that our country was built on slavery, will have to look some where else and go after the descendants of those who did profit?

reohn2
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Re: Did slavery really make Britain rich?

Postby reohn2 » 19 Jun 2020, 3:49pm

Whether the UK's wealth was built on slavery or not doesn't excuse the buying and selling of people and those who profited from it any less barbaric.
Or their statues any less gross and crass in a multcultural country such as the UK where elements of the society are decendents of slaves.
We live in a country were racism is still institutional.
Last edited by reohn2 on 19 Jun 2020, 3:52pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Manc33
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Re: Did slavery really make Britain rich?

Postby Manc33 » 19 Jun 2020, 3:51pm

I should think slavery (or exploitation) made every country rich that is now rich. If they aren't rich, they got taken advantage of by countries that now are rich. For example everything is made in China on the cheap and sold here (and in the US). If you want something decent that's made in the US, it costs 4 times more than it would from China - for example Thomson seatposts, or whatever.
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Tangled Metal
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Re: Did slavery really make Britain rich?

Postby Tangled Metal » 19 Jun 2020, 4:13pm

I think the point isn't that slavery was evil or not but that a lot of areas built on slavery was a net loss for the UK economy. I'd heard that if the Caribbean before. British economy made its real money from other means. Industrial Revolution really made the UK. English cotton fabrics were worn the world over.

As an aside one of my ancestors made a fortune from the earliest days of the American colony. He helped yeoman farmers go across and set up farms and he charged rent. Ended up owning vast territories in the Carolinas and other areas/States. Not sure it's fully exploitative to give people a new life in the colonies like that but it certainly made him rich. A landowner with land that even the richest UK based landowners couldn't come close to.

I personally think slavery made some rich but overall it didn't do that much for the UK. The money of those who made their wealth in the new world and with the benefits of slavery probably did more for the country with their money than the revenues the government and colonies collected on their activities. I have no evidence for that use the suspicion that like with Bill gates today huge wealth drives philanthropy. Whether they got it cleanly it not is often forgotten or ignored in the times that benefited from it. BTW by modern standards I do not believe gates got his wealth wholly innocently. No doubt he trampled on others on his rise. Not by slavery standards but by modern standards or perhaps the standards of a few hundred years from now.

thirdcrank
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Re: Did slavery really make Britain rich?

Postby thirdcrank » 19 Jun 2020, 5:10pm

" .... much of our wealth .... " means no more than that, and certainly not "all our wealth."

GB was the cradle of the Industrial Revolution.

There was a big British Empire, on which the Sun reportedly never set and British industry did well out of a system where undeveloped countries sent us their raw materials and bought our manufactured goods in return.

We moved a lot more people around the planet than slaves from Africa to the Caribbean and Southern US states. eg Consider how the so-called Ugandan Asians ended up in Uganda.

There's a discussion to be had about the benefits, in terms of "development" derived by countries in the Empire, but don't doubt that the financial benefits accrued to the "Mother Country."

NB The extent of the profits from the slave trade was the reason that the compensation to those affected by abolition was so great.

reohn2
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Re: Did slavery really make Britain rich?

Postby reohn2 » 19 Jun 2020, 5:14pm

thirdcrank wrote:............The extent of the profits from the slave trade was the reason that the compensation to those affected by abolition was so great.

And which were only paid in full in 2015 :shock:
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al_yrpal
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Re: Did slavery really make Britain rich?

Postby al_yrpal » 19 Jun 2020, 5:33pm

Dont forget that slaves were the cheapest form of cheap labour. They just needed food and shelter at minimalist cost. An inexpensive resource that enriched their 'owners'. Its not just about the profits generated by the slave trade. Slaves could produce sugar and other crops very cheap. The Kenyan Asians were paid a wage and largely built the Lunatic Express. British gunboats patrolled the Indian Ocean to try to stop the slave trade that had been going on between East Africa, Arabia and India for centuries.

No doubt that slaving did enrich some British folk somewhat but us proles should feel no guilt. This country's wealth is largely due to the fruits of the application of science and the subsequent industrial revolution.

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landsurfer
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Re: Did slavery really make Britain rich?

Postby landsurfer » 19 Jun 2020, 6:26pm

The question you must ask .....
Where do you keep your black slaves ?
Where did your parents keep their black slaves ?
Your grandparents and great parents .. how did they treat their black slaves ?

Great great grandparents .... let me guess ... no black slaves .....

Modern slaves in Vietnam making your cycling shoes.
Slaves in the Indian sub continent making disposable fashion for Pretty Little Thing, Boo Hoo and Primark ...
Slaves from eastern europe in nail bars and on the land picking your veg ...

All lives matter ... lets stop daubing monuments and lets fight modern slavery here and now ..
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PH
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Re: Did slavery really make Britain rich?

Postby PH » 19 Jun 2020, 6:32pm

Tangled Metal wrote: Industrial Revolution really made the UK. English cotton fabrics were worn the world over.

Did you really write that, I was waiting for a punchline. Who do you think picked the cotton?
The Spectator article is dishonest, it takes no account of the accrued and accumulated benefits, only the direct ones. There are clear links from the money gained from slavery and that invested to make the industrial revolution possible. Plenty of well researched books and papers on the subject, there have always been detractors (And publications to promote them) it's a minority view.
I don't feel guilty for the actions of previous generations, or my country's rulers. I do feel the World would be a better place if we accepted that some of the current inequalities stem from those times and worked towards resolving them. White privilege is real, Western privilege is real, does anyone here think they deserve a better life because of their ancestors?

mercalia
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Re: Did slavery really make Britain rich?

Postby mercalia » 19 Jun 2020, 7:15pm

reohn2 wrote:
thirdcrank wrote:............The extent of the profits from the slave trade was the reason that the compensation to those affected by abolition was so great.

And which were only paid in full in 2015 :shock:


profits for whom? not Gt Britain. Are you sure - I thought that was the money borrowed from the USA after WW2 had just been paid off? ( corrected below)

of course none of this lets off other imperialists what they did else where eg the Anglo -China Opium wars where the chinese were forced to take opium in payment for tea, under threat of arms? Or in India where I believe the cotton industry was destoyed by British cotton products - but thats a different story and nothing to do with BLM and slavery. But it seems, as that article in the thread on alternative ways to interpret statues says, they can be less violent in keeping history alive and dont imbue the statues with animistic taunts, thus wanting to tear them down eg Clive of India.
Last edited by mercalia on 19 Jun 2020, 7:35pm, edited 2 times in total.

reohn2
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Re: Did slavery really make Britain rich?

Postby reohn2 » 19 Jun 2020, 7:24pm

mercalia wrote:
reohn2 wrote:
thirdcrank wrote:............The extent of the profits from the slave trade was the reason that the compensation to those affected by abolition was so great.

And which were only paid in full in 2015 :shock:


profits for whom? not Gt Britain. Are you sure - I thought that was the money borrowed from the USA after WW2 had just been paid off?

https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/t ... e-12019829
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mercalia
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Re: Did slavery really make Britain rich?

Postby mercalia » 19 Jun 2020, 7:34pm

reohn2 wrote:
mercalia wrote:
reohn2 wrote:And which were only paid in full in 2015 :shock:


profits for whom? not Gt Britain. Are you sure - I thought that was the money borrowed from the USA after WW2 had just been paid off?

https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/t ... e-12019829


ok interesting. just reinforces the article mentioned at the start that slavery made certain people rich and the British state suffered as a result, due to the fact that at the time mps could be bought & vested interests did? That any money made did nothing to make Britain rich, just certain Britons infact impoverished the state? The amount of £20M as 40% is presumably from tax revenues ( much less in those days) and not the same as the value of the whole economy as represented by the industrial revolution and investments thereof? so doesnt conflict with the original article above?

Those days were definitley evil in the way that the rich could subvert govt - but we all know the struggles about universal suffrage? Maybe some still fume at the way their forbears lived in the slums and squalor of the east end and had lives nasty brutish and short but most have consigned that to history as social progress?
Last edited by mercalia on 19 Jun 2020, 8:14pm, edited 3 times in total.

mercalia
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Re: Did slavery really make Britain rich?

Postby mercalia » 19 Jun 2020, 8:04pm

thirdcrank wrote:" .... much of our wealth .... " means no more than that, and certainly not "all our wealth."

GB was the cradle of the Industrial Revolution.

There was a big British Empire, on which the Sun reportedly never set and British industry did well out of a system where undeveloped countries sent us their raw materials and bought our manufactured goods in return.

We moved a lot more people around the planet than slaves from Africa to the Caribbean and Southern US states. eg Consider how the so-called Ugandan Asians ended up in Uganda.

There's a discussion to be had about the benefits, in terms of "development" derived by countries in the Empire, but don't doubt that the financial benefits accrued to the "Mother Country."

NB The extent of the profits from the slave trade was the reason that the compensation to those affected by abolition was so great.


the key word is "our" The only wealth that we can say is ours is what the state collects or owns? What the slave owners got was never ours.

reohn2
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Re: Did slavery really make Britain rich?

Postby reohn2 » 19 Jun 2020, 8:12pm

mercalia wrote: ........mps could be bought & vested interests did? ........

Do you think it's any different today?
Admittedly it may not be as overt but there are a fair few MPs sitting on consultative committees collecting silly money an hours work,it's a gravy train for some.
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jimlews
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Re: Did slavery really make Britain rich?

Postby jimlews » 20 Jun 2020, 10:22am

al_yrpal wrote:Dont forget that slaves were the cheapest form of cheap labour. They just needed food and shelter at minimalist cost. An inexpensive resource that enriched their 'owners'. Its not just about the profits generated by the slave trade. Slaves could produce sugar and other crops very cheap. The Kenyan Asians were paid a wage and largely built the Lunatic Express. British gunboats patrolled the Indian Ocean to try to stop the slave trade that had been going on between East Africa, Arabia and India for centuries.

No doubt that slaving did enrich some British folk somewhat but us proles should feel no guilt. This country's wealth is largely due to the fruits of the application of science and the subsequent industrial revolution.

Al


+1

Indeed we proles should feel no guilt.
I stand to be corrected but I think that Britain was, if not the first, then certainly one of the first countries to abolish slavery (1833)and thereafter, policed the high seas in an attempt to suppress the the 'evil trade'.

BTW. Slavery still exists today. Many of the gadgets essential to modern lifestyles (gps, computer chips, mobile phones) use raw materials, rare metals etc. that are mined using forced labour.

It is interesting to compare the history of and attitudes to slavery in the UK and contrast that to the record of slave use in the Belgian Congo, a colony that was run as an enormous concentration camp. That area is still suffering today. And that is the area where many of the rare metals mentioned above are found.

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