I thought capitalism was having a bad PR DECADE. Then comes this prescient Forbes article linking business practices employed in capitalism with slavery tactics.
Given recent overt displays of some people’s racist attitudes towards people of color, revisiting this article is timely. Wow. How cool.
In the “The Messy Link Between Slave Owners And Modern Management”, Katie Johnson discusses with Harvard Business School Researcher Caitlin Rosenthal research Rosenthal conducted revealing the embarrassing connection. It seems many corporate practices today – rewards and punishments, minimum worker output levels and using meticulous data to “determine how far they could push their workers to get the most profit.” heralds from the antebellum era.
History is rarely if ever faithful to what really happened. It more often reflects biases of those writing it. This is true about so many of the nation’s industrial successes, who was responsible, and what really happened. For example, Rosenthal points out that several business practices originally claimed to have come from the Railroad days, actually stem from slave plantations in the south.
Rosenthal says the rise of the railroad is often credited with creating new units of production, including the cost per ton mile, but slavery’s comparable “bales per prime hand” unit was developed earlier in the nineteenth century. Comparing the number of cotton bales that different types of workers produced to similar workers on other farms, planters calculated the worth of each slave. A healthy 30-year-old male, for instance, would be considered one worker, known as a hand, whereas a child may be recorded as half a hand, and an older slave might be three-quarters of a hand. Figuring out the total number of “hands” on a farm allowed owners and overseers to compare their results.
Interestingly Rosenthal says she didn’t set out to purposely uncover the nasty origins of capitalist practices, she was really only looking for a history of such practices. Apparently, she is surprised as anyone about where these practices originated, and even how controversial her research may eventually become.
Capitalism on trial
The trouble with capitalism isn’t its roots. The trouble with capitalism today is that it’s failing under the weight of the waste it creates, yet fails to mitigate. Pollution, crime, unemployment, cyclical economic downturns, downright disasters and oppression are so relatively common, we fail to bat an eye anymore when they happen. Combine this with the corruptive influence capitalism has on representative politics and you have exactly what you see today: ineffective political leaders more focused on winning votes, fundraising and keeping their jobs than getting sh*t done, and markets that create nearly as many problems as they create products and services of value.
That’s why we here at Copiosis are pushing for the economic upgrade. Our upgrade virtually eliminates then makes impossible all these problems and more. Then it makes every American completely free in the literal sense of that word.
We just experienced the anniversary of the United States’ independence. Freedom was the rallying cry back then, but here we are decades later and people still aren’t free. This, by the way, includes white people.
We define freedom specifically. We call it REAL freedom. Here’s our definition:
A person who is free can do nothing if that’s what they want to do. A person who wants to spend all their time learning to paint, play video games all day, or fish or whatever, can. And they can do those things (or anything else) without going hungry, living on the street, or getting care for their body (or mind) if necessary. If they’re free that is. They can also get all the education they need or want to learn or improve any skill while doing whatever they want without having to earn money to get those things. And…the person exercising their freedom can do so without anyone else having to do anything they don’t want to do to support that person.
That’s real freedom. Americans don’t know freedom today. With Copiosis they will.
In the meantime, as we watch capitalism deal with the worst PR moments in decades, our government paralyzed and our nation in both financial collapse and social disorder borne of racism, think about why it is that we put up with all this….