What Role Did Slavery Play In Capitalism

Capitalism refers to an economic system where a private owner is in control of their own capital goods, investments, and distribution of these goods in a free market. Above all, the goal of capitalism is profit. According to Sven Beckert (2014), many people believe capitalism is about wages, labor, global markets, and how these concepts can work together and create a market that maximizes human freedom for all. This concept is in total contrast with how interconnected slavery is in relation to the beginning of capitalism. Slavery is intricately connected to the development of modern day capitalism and has direct historical, economic, and social influences. For most of history, historians and scholars largely ignored the role slavery played …show more content…
According to Somerville (1934), Karl Marx stated the development of capitalism needs an accumulation of money as a source for capitalism. He proposed that capitalism started with money and wealth, which was produced by many things. The discovery of silver and gold produced wealth, as well as, slavery. The slaves had a direct role in the production of cotton and an indirect role in the production of clothes, furniture, and farming materials, which all produced money. Therefore, without the production of goods, by the slaves, there would be a never ending cycle, which is described in the following quote: “The accumulation of capital pre-supposes surplus-value; surplus-value pre-supposes capitalistic production; capitalistic production pre-supposes the pre-existence of considerable masses of capital and of labour-power... The whole movement, therefore, seems to turn in a vicious circle, out of which we can only get by supposing a primitive accumulation... an accumulation not the result of the capitalist mode of production, but its starting point” (Blackburn, 1997). The role of cotton plantations basically increased the available money, which in turn, was instrumental in fueling the Industrial Revolution. Sometimes the new industrial lists had to wait a long time for their work to become profitable. Therefore, the profits earned from slavery helped to establish credit, which allowed them to expand and earn profits …show more content…
When we look at the large picture, a new appreciation is seen in terms of how important slavery was to the emergence of modern capitalism (Beckert,2014). As a demand for cotton textiles increased, so did the demand for high amounts of cotton. This spired the increase trade of slaved from Africa. These slaves were then forced to plant, grow, and pick cotton endlessly to maximize the profits for the rich plantation owner. This lead to the industry becoming more industrialized to further improve profits. This eventually lead to the Industrial Revolution in America. Obviously the economic impact slavery had on capitalism was free labour. Without the initial forced and free labour, profits would have been minimal. With minimal profit there would minimal growth. Therefore, there would be no local or global growth. However, with the fuel of free labour, this allowed profits to snowball and spin off jobs were created. This was how capitalism was able to continue its progress into the 19th century. Slavery or inferior social classes were also a necessary evils in terms of the growth of capitalism. The rich owners were able to profit from the hard working slaves, who worked in unbearable conditions. The owners were able to take advantage of the situation because they really felt that the slaves were subhuman and

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