Did slavery really make Britain rich?

Use this board for general non-cycling-related chat, or to introduce yourself to the forum.
rmurphy195
Posts: 1754
Joined: 20 May 2011, 11:23am
Location: South Birmingham

Re: Did slavery really make Britain rich?

Postby rmurphy195 » 23 Jun 2020, 9:46pm

In answer to the question posed - yes, it did, but not necessarily in what people think of as the "Conventional" sense (people bought and used as disposable assets), and not always directly.

You have the ports where the town was built directly or indirectly on the profits from slavery - e.g. Bristol - if you explore the docklands there was an as-yet undeveloped area when I last visited the place, that contains the ruins of holding pens for slaves.

If you can find the excellent series on Clyde shipbuilding presented by David Hayman, there is a reference in one program to blockade runners - running arms to the South in the American civil war. Vast fortunes were made by the captains and builders of these ships, all on the back of a nation that wanted to keep slavery, made in one part of a nation that made the beginnings of trying to abolish it, and at the sametime as workers in other parts of the UK where refusing to work so as not to support slavery (the mill workers refusing to use America cotton). A comment is made in that program that the clyde shipbuilding industry may have its foundatons in that era.

Visit Quarry Bank Mill, run by the National Trust, and you will find references another form of slavery rife in this country, in this case in the mills. There are probably many other examples, if you care to look.

Some might consider the actions of the East India Company in India and China to amount to enslavement perhaps of a different kind, including some dubious trading relationships with India (captive markets for the products of the cotton mills), and the profits from the Opium trade.

Slavery took many forms, and applied across many peoples both at home and abroad. Some had champions to help try and abolish it (e.g. William Wilberforce and the anti-slavery movement) some did not.

Racism, now - that's a different question, and a different subject.
Brompton, Condor Heritage, creaky joints and thinning white (formerly grey) hair
""You know you're getting old when it's easier to ride a bike than to get on and off it" - quote from observant jogger !

jimlews
Posts: 467
Joined: 11 Jun 2015, 8:36pm

Re: Did slavery really make Britain rich?

Postby jimlews » 25 Jun 2020, 9:33pm

The slavery that makes me angry, is that perpetrated by, in no particular order of iniquity, Audi, Volkswagen (Hitler's favourite child), BMW,
Mercedes - Benz, Krupps, A.G. Farben (zyklon B as used in the gas chambers) and many more enthusiastic supporters of the Nazi regime during the 1930's and 1940's. All are still prospering today.

To the best of my knowledge, none has so much as apologised, let alone paid any compensation to their victims, and indeed have contested any attempt to make them responsible for their crimes. They are cynically prevaricating; waiting for the last few of their surviving victims to die in the hope that their evil will be forgotten.

mikeymo
Posts: 1163
Joined: 27 Sep 2016, 6:23pm

Re: Did slavery really make Britain rich?

Postby mikeymo » 26 Jun 2020, 1:46am

jimlews wrote:The slavery that makes me angry, is that perpetrated by, in no particular order of iniquity, Audi, Volkswagen (Hitler's favourite child), BMW,
Mercedes - Benz, Krupps, A.G. Farben (zyklon B as used in the gas chambers) and many more enthusiastic supporters of the Nazi regime during the 1930's and 1940's. All are still prospering today.

To the best of my knowledge, none has so much as apologised, let alone paid any compensation to their victims, and indeed have contested any attempt to make them responsible for their crimes. They are cynically prevaricating; waiting for the last few of their surviving victims to die in the hope that their evil will be forgotten.


https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3480258/German-car-giant-BMW-apologises-wartime-past-admitting-profound-regret-supplying-Nazis-vehicles-using-slave-labourers.html 2016

https://www.latimes.com/archives/la-xpm-1988-06-12-mn-7400-story.html 1988

https://www.nytimes.com/1998/09/11/world/volkswagen-to-create-12-million-fund-for-nazi-era-laborers.html#:~:text=Faced%20with%20a%20new%20lawsuit,people%20working%20with%20the%20company. 1998

I don't know who "A. G. Farben" was/is. There was a company called I.G. Farben, whose directors were put on trial immediately after the war, and the company was put into liquidation in 1952.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IG_Farben
Hilarious, pithy, or philosophical signature.

jimlews
Posts: 467
Joined: 11 Jun 2015, 8:36pm

Re: Did slavery really make Britain rich?

Postby jimlews » 26 Jun 2020, 7:45am

You're right, my computer 'savvy' does not extend very far. I generally find better things to do with my time.

So, the admission of their evil doing took these companies:

BMW Circa 70 years

Mercedes Benz Circa 43 yrs

Volkswagen Circa 53 yrs

The recent emissions scandal suggests to me that at least one of the above is still a pretty dodgy and amoral company.
Perhaps the others have better software.

Anyway, at least someone has lost some sleep over it.

mercalia
Posts: 13560
Joined: 22 Sep 2013, 10:03pm
Location: london South

Re: Did slavery really make Britain rich?

Postby mercalia » 26 Jun 2020, 7:34pm

How should we feel about compensating slave-owners? asks the Spectator

As for the morality of compensation, the abolitionists chose to pay because it meant an early end to the struggle. To wish that things had been otherwise is almost to indicate a preference for a more extended period of suffering so that we can feel better about the moral purity of the way slavery ended; a clearer, cleaner story for the modern world to use as guidance.


https://www.spectator.co.uk/article/how-should-we-feel-about-compensating-slave-owners-?

Vorpal
Moderator
Posts: 18239
Joined: 19 Jan 2009, 3:34pm
Location: Not there ;)

Re: Did slavery really make Britain rich?

Postby Vorpal » 27 Jun 2020, 12:00pm

mercalia wrote:How should we feel about compensating slave-owners? asks the Spectator

As for the morality of compensation, the abolitionists chose to pay because it meant an early end to the struggle. To wish that things had been otherwise is almost to indicate a preference for a more extended period of suffering so that we can feel better about the moral purity of the way slavery ended; a clearer, cleaner story for the modern world to use as guidance.


https://www.spectator.co.uk/article/how-should-we-feel-about-compensating-slave-owners-?

It's behind a paywall, and I am not going to subscribe to the Spectator.

But I will say this... I can fully understand that paying reparations to owners at the time was necessary, but I think that we have moved well beyond that.

I don't think anyone would be asking for reparations for the descendants of slaves if the sytemic inequalities had been fully addressed long before this.
“In some ways, it is easier to be a dissident, for then one is without responsibility.”
― Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom

User avatar
simonineaston
Posts: 2970
Joined: 9 May 2007, 1:06pm
Location: Live & work in Briz'l

Re: Did slavery really make Britain rich?

Postby simonineaston » 27 Jun 2020, 12:01pm

Wot is "too long ago"? Somebody knows, I expect...
ttfn, Simon in Easton
(currently enjoying a Moulton TSR & a nano Brompton...)

Oldjohnw
Posts: 4508
Joined: 16 Oct 2018, 4:23am
Location: Northumberland

Re: Did slavery really make Britain rich?

Postby Oldjohnw » 27 Jun 2020, 12:06pm

In England, the traders got compensation but not the slaves. If the succeeding couple of centuries had demonstrated equality we wouldn't have the situation we have today.
John

Ben@Forest
Posts: 2378
Joined: 28 Jan 2013, 5:58pm

Re: Did slavery really make Britain rich?

Postby Ben@Forest » 27 Jun 2020, 1:56pm

Oldjohnw wrote:In England, the traders got compensation but not the slaves. If the succeeding couple of centuries had demonstrated equality we wouldn't have the situation we have today.


Of course most of us weren't treated equally. It wasn't until the 1918 Representation of the People Act (principally remembered for women over 30 getting the vote) that the final 40% of men also got the vote. The majority of men did not get the vote till 1884.

How many of us are descended from serfs? Some will be the descendants of those in indentured servitude. Were domestic staff fairly treated? (my maternal grandmother was in service). Were immigrant Jews fairly treated? (obviously most were getting away from worse treatment in central Europe but was there equality by our 21st century definition?)