Did slavery really make Britain rich?

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Re: Did slavery really make Britain rich?

Postby Vorpal » 20 Jun 2020, 10:45am

Slaves may not have 'made Britain' rich, but Imperialism certainly did. And with that came slaves, colonialism, the seizure and destruction of local resources in far off lands, and abuses that killed millions of people. Slavery may be only a small part of that, but that should not excuse either slavery nor colonial abuses.

https://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opini ... 30851.html
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Re: Did slavery really make Britain rich?

Postby Cunobelin » 20 Jun 2020, 10:53am

The problem with trying to live up to the past is that it is a never-ending spiral.

We were not right, but is there actually anything that we can really do, apart from learn from it?

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Re: Did slavery really make Britain rich?

Postby mercalia » 20 Jun 2020, 11:11am

Vorpal wrote:Slaves may not have 'made Britain' rich, but Imperialisma certainly did. And with that came slaves, colonialism, the seizure and destruction of local resources in far off lands, and abuses that killed millions of people. Slavery may be only a small part of that, but that should not excuse either slavery nor colonial abuses.

https://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opini ... 30851.html


well not in China or India? What about Africa its self? was slavery only confined to the Americas incl the Carribean?

The original article was testing Sadiq Khans ( mayor of London) assertion that Slavery was the root of it all.( and therefore we are all guilty as hell) The rebuttal takes much of the wind out of the BLM's sails since only a select few were as guilty as hell. And they are all long since dead. ( if not go after them not "us") Rather crazy in my opinion to rant and rage over the left overs and detritus of times past.
Last edited by mercalia on 20 Jun 2020, 11:23am, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Did slavery really make Britain rich?

Postby windmiller » 20 Jun 2020, 11:14am

All these historical morality wars about slavery are only promoting division and racism from all sides of the aggrieved.

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Re: Did slavery really make Britain rich?

Postby reohn2 » 20 Jun 2020, 11:18am

windmiller wrote:All these historical morality wars about slavery are only promoting division and racism from all sides of the aggrieved.

What have the white population of the country to be aggrieved about?
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Re: Did slavery really make Britain rich?

Postby windmiller » 20 Jun 2020, 11:22am

reohn2 wrote:
windmiller wrote:All these historical morality wars about slavery are only promoting division and racism from all sides of the aggrieved.

What have the white population of the country to be aggrieved about?


Thank you for illustrating part of my point.

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Re: Did slavery really make Britain rich?

Postby reohn2 » 20 Jun 2020, 11:23am

windmiller wrote:
reohn2 wrote:
windmiller wrote:All these historical morality wars about slavery are only promoting division and racism from all sides of the aggrieved.

What have the white population of the country to be aggrieved about?


Thank you for illustrating part of my point.

Care to explain?
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Re: Did slavery really make Britain rich?

Postby simonineaston » 20 Jun 2020, 11:24am

I have a certain amount of sympathy for high-profile politicians, like London's Mayor. Their every utterence is under intense scrutiny (this thread being one example), so they have to be mindful that everything they say has to do perform a number of jobs - sound-bite, newspaper headline, quoted by journalists etc. etc.. Their words have to appeal to a wide range of listeners, from the most politically unengaged, to highly educated representatives of their political opponents, as well as be media-friendly enough to end up quoted in the article in The Metro, or in this case, The Spectator.
It's then that their woes have only just begun! For example the thread poses the question, "Did slavery really make Britain rich?" whereas the quote that heads up the article is, 'It’s a sad truth that much of our wealth was derived from the slave trade' (my emphasis). As has been pointed out up thread, there's an important difference between the two phrases. Bear in mind that slavery was just one element of a way of doing business with the world, aka colonisation and the mass movement of valueable resources, taken to use - either traded or consumed by industry one way or another - cotton, spices, ore, precious metals, etc. etc. slave labour being just one part.
Model: discover, invade, dominate by virtue of technological superiority, take resources, profit. Repeat. Worked very well indeed, but at great cost to those living in the bits coloured pink - or indeed other colours - colonies "belonging" to other countries who followed the model - France, Belgium, Germany and so on.
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Re: Did slavery really make Britain rich?

Postby Vorpal » 20 Jun 2020, 11:33am

mercalia wrote:
Vorpal wrote:Slaves may not have 'made Britain' rich, but Imperialisma certainly did. And with that came slaves, colonialism, the seizure and destruction of local resources in far off lands, and abuses that killed millions of people. Slavery may be only a small part of that, but that should not excuse either slavery nor colonial abuses.

https://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opini ... 30851.html


well not in China or India? What about Africa its self? was slavery only confined to the Americas incl the Carribean?

The original article was testing Sadiq Khans ( mayor of London) assertion that Slavery was the root of it all.( and therefore we are all guilty as hell) The rebuttal takes much of the wind out of the BLM's sails since only a select few were as guilty as hell.

Does it? BLM isn't about slavery. It is about ongoing systemic racism. It is about some people being valued less than others within the system. That has its origins in history, but it's not about the history.

And part of the problem with getting systemic racism addressed is that people argue the fine points *just like this discussion* instead of addressing the problems. People say, but *I* am not racist, as if that is the end of the story. Yet the system somehow ensures that more black people die of COVID-19 (and the flu, and many other serious illness). The system somehow ensures that the they make less money, are more poorly educated, more likely to be prosecuted and imprisoned. A few folks pull themeslves up by the bootstraps or manage to combine talent and luck to become CEOs, or famous authors, or footballers, or get a PhD from Oxford, and people go 'look,we must not be racist if so-and-so managed it'.

Frankly if it was just one thing; a stupid statue, or money paid out in compensation to slavers, or even a somewhat higher death rate for black folks from one disease, there would be no BLM. There would be no need for civil rights activists. People could study the single incident and say what we learned from it. But it isn't one or two things. There is evidence of systemic racism (and ableism and sexism, etc.) across society, across the justice, social, medical, and education systems.

People wouldn't be talking about 'did slavery make Britain rich' if we had done anything like enough to make up for it. It would be largely relegated to discussion in history classes.
“In some ways, it is easier to be a dissident, for then one is without responsibility.”
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Re: Did slavery really make Britain rich?

Postby windmiller » 20 Jun 2020, 11:51am

Vorpal wrote:
mercalia wrote:
Vorpal wrote:Slaves may not have 'made Britain' rich, but Imperialisma certainly did. And with that came slaves, colonialism, the seizure and destruction of local resources in far off lands, and abuses that killed millions of people. Slavery may be only a small part of that, but that should not excuse either slavery nor colonial abuses.

https://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opini ... 30851.html


well not in China or India? What about Africa its self? was slavery only confined to the Americas incl the Carribean?

The original article was testing Sadiq Khans ( mayor of London) assertion that Slavery was the root of it all.( and therefore we are all guilty as hell) The rebuttal takes much of the wind out of the BLM's sails since only a select few were as guilty as hell.

Does it? BLM isn't about slavery. It is about ongoing systemic racism. It is about some people being valued less than others within the system. That has its origins in history, but it's not about the history.

And part of the problem with getting systemic racism addressed is that people argue the fine points *just like this discussion* instead of addressing the problems. People say, but *I* am not racist, as if that is the end of the story. Yet the system somehow ensures that more black people die of COVID-19 (and the flu, and many other serious illness). The system somehow ensures that the they make less money, are more poorly educated, more likely to be prosecuted and imprisoned. A few folks pull themeslves up by the bootstraps or manage to combine talent and luck to become CEOs, or famous authors, or footballers, or get a PhD from Oxford, and people go 'look,we must not be racist if so-and-so managed it'.

Frankly if it was just one thing; a stupid statue, or money paid out in compensation to slavers, or even a somewhat higher death rate for black folks from one disease, there would be no BLM. There would be no need for civil rights activists. People could study the single incident and say what we learned from it. But it isn't one or two things. There is evidence of systemic racism (and ableism and sexism, etc.) across society, across the justice, social, medical, and education systems.

People wouldn't be talking about 'did slavery make Britain rich' if we had done anything like enough to make up for it. It would be largely relegated to discussion in history classes.


The British Empire no longer exists. I feel no compulsion to self-flagellation or ancestral guilt by proxy. I would not be surprised in the least if the vast majority of the people of this country felt exactly the same way.

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Re: Did slavery really make Britain rich?

Postby Vorpal » 20 Jun 2020, 11:57am

windmiller wrote:
The British Empire no longer exists. I feel no compulsion to self-flagellation or ancestral guilt by proxy. I would not be surprised in the least if the vast majority of the people of this country felt exactly the same way.

Nobody is telling anyone to feel guilty.

They just want the problems addressed.
“In some ways, it is easier to be a dissident, for then one is without responsibility.”
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Re: Did slavery really make Britain rich?

Postby windmiller » 20 Jun 2020, 12:17pm

Vorpal wrote:
windmiller wrote:
The British Empire no longer exists. I feel no compulsion to self-flagellation or ancestral guilt by proxy. I would not be surprised in the least if the vast majority of the people of this country felt exactly the same way.

Nobody is telling anyone to feel guilty.

They just want the problems addressed.


Vorpal do you really believe that? The problems are socio - economic, We already have maxed out on equality and race discrimination laws to the point of "positive discrimination" which is a racist and sexist agenda in itself, yet it is never enough because it never will be.

Those that seek to bring about the destruction of society know this and want to import the culture wars of America to the UK for their own dubious ends.

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Re: Did slavery really make Britain rich?

Postby Mike Sales » 20 Jun 2020, 12:34pm

The history of the Pennant family who built Penrhyn Castle near Bangor is relevant and interesting.
They made their money in Jamaica by sugar and slavery and used in to exploit the Welsh slate workers in the Penrhyn quarries. They were active in opposing abolition and locked out their slate workers for three years for wanting to form a union. When I lived there there were still bitter memories of this longest trade dispute in British history. A certain row of cottages was remembered as the homes of those who were forced back to work early, breaking the strike, by accepting Pennant's terms.

https://www.blackhistorymonth.org.uk/article/section/history-of-slavery/the-welsh-slave-owner-and-anti-abolitionist-mp-richard-pennant/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Pennant,_1st_Baron_Penrhyn

There are several 19th. century big houses in the area with a similar history. Glynllifon and Plas Newydd.
Our club was shown round Glynllifon by a member, a local man who was caretaker/handyman and had an interesting
view of its past.

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Re: Did slavery really make Britain rich?

Postby Vorpal » 20 Jun 2020, 12:59pm

windmiller wrote:Vorpal do you really believe that? The problems are socio - economic, We already have maxed out on equality and race discrimination laws to the point of "positive discrimination" which is a racist and sexist agenda in itself, yet it is never enough because it never will be.

Those that seek to bring about the destruction of society know this and want to import the culture wars of America to the UK for their own dubious ends.

The problems are not solely socio - economic. And positive discrimination is generally illegal. Even if it were really a problem, it doesn't half make up for centuries of oppression.

Have you personally ever been subjected to direct discrimination? I have. Not just once, but persistently and aggravatedly. This is the experience of many women working in male-dominated fields, of blacks and ethnic minorities in many situations, or disabled folks, and others. People *talk* about positive discrimination, but I have yet to see any evidence that it is problem. On ther hand, there is loads of evidence that structural racism, sexism, and ableism serve to ensure that BAME, women, and disabled have fewer opportunities across many sectors of society.

The *laws* are generally appropriate, but not only are they poorly enforced, the system makes it very difficult for people to obtain recompense even when they can demonstrate a problem. I know, for example, of several employees of a large employer who were prejudicially included in a downsizing; their jobs were not actually eliminated; they were made to look that way as part of reorganisation. they were told that they had very strong cases against the employer. The problem with pursuing them was
-the redundancy package was generous; more than they would have received as settlement for a case, and conditional upon agreeing not to sue the company
-such settlements take years (the legal team advised them up to 3 years)
-they still wouldn't have jobs
-there was a significant risk that they would be blacklisted in their industry if they pursued a legal case

Everyone took the redundancy package.

I can honestly list so many examples, across very many different aspects of life where I or someone I know has been discriminated against, either individually, or collectively that I could spend a year writing about it, and not cover them all. And that is *with* the supposed protection of the law.

I certainly don't want anyone to feel guilty for that. I do want them to fix the problems.
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Re: Did slavery really make Britain rich?

Postby mercalia » 20 Jun 2020, 1:26pm

simonineaston wrote:I have a certain amount of sympathy for high-profile politicians, like London's Mayor. Their every utterence is under intense scrutiny (this thread being one example), so they have to be mindful that everything they say has to do perform a number of jobs - sound-bite, newspaper headline, quoted by journalists etc. etc.. Their words have to appeal to a wide range of listeners, from the most politically unengaged, to highly educated representatives of their political opponents, as well as be media-friendly enough to end up quoted in the article in The Metro, or in this case, The Spectator.
It's then that their woes have only just begun! For example the thread poses the question, "Did slavery really make Britain rich?" whereas the quote that heads up the article is, 'It’s a sad truth that much of our wealth was derived from the slave trade' (my emphasis). As has been pointed out up thread, there's an important difference between the two phrases. Bear in mind that slavery was just one element of a way of doing business with the world, aka colonisation and the mass movement of valueable resources, taken to use - either traded or consumed by industry one way or another - cotton, spices, ore, precious metals, etc. etc. slave labour being just one part.
Model: discover, invade, dominate by virtue of technological superiority, take resources, profit. Repeat. Worked very well indeed, but at great cost to those living in the bits coloured pink - or indeed other colours - colonies "belonging" to other countries who followed the model - France, Belgium, Germany and so on.


I think the Spectator article estimated just a few percent so "much" not appropriate - maybe "a little" but then Khans view loses its force? "It’s a sad truth that a little ( or small proportion) of our wealth was derived from the slave trade' so what I hear many prople say. AND there is the further point its not OUR wealth? The wealth that the state owns but some rich dudes. Dont make me complicit or responsible for these dead rich dudes deeds. In fact according to previous contributors the country used taxes and borrowing to pay them off to give up slavery - slavery denuded the countrys wealth not added to it.