Dear liste et al,
Just to reinforce Daniel's research...some online research turned up this information. Prime slave field hands sold for $400 to $600 in 1800; $1300 to $1600 in 1850; and up to $3000. in 1861. As a point of comparison, manual laborers on the Erie Canal earned about a dollar a day around 1850. So slaves were a considerable investment.
Date: Sat, 26 Jun 2010 23:52:45 +0000
Subject: [Revlist] Re: killing slaves
this from a 2002 discussion citing Scientific American:
From a disturbing article in Scientific American comparing modern "debt bondage" with slavery (bolding mine):
Although each of the manifestations of slavery has unique local characteristics, one of the aims of social scientists is to understand their universal features, so that therapies developed in one place can be applied elsewhere. Foremost among these commonalities is the basic economic equation. In 1850 an agricultural slave cost $1,500 in Alabama (around $30,000 in today's dollars). The equivalent laborer can be had for around $100 today. That payment might be made as part of a "loan" or as a "fee" to a trafficker. A young woman in Southeast Asia or eastern Europe might be sold several times, through a series of brokers and pimps, before she ends up in a brothel.
One should not read too much into these specific dollar amounts, because what the slaveholder purchases is somewhat different in each case. The basic point is that forced labor represents a much smaller percentage of business expenses than it used to. It took 20 years of labor for an antebellum American slave to repay his or her purchase price and maintenance costs; today it takes two years for a bonded laborer in South Asia to do the same. This fall in price has altered not only the profitability of slavery but also the relationship between slave and master. The expensive slave of the past was a protected investment; today's slave is a cheap and disposable input to low-level production. The slaveholder has little incentive to provide health care or to take care of slaves who are past their prime.
........ I think the $400,000 figure from below is perhaps what us 'slave' parents spend on raising one child to adulhood and through college?....?...? (excepting car accidents?)
--- In Revlist@yahoogroups.com, "gregsandor" <gregsandor@...> wrote:
> I recently read that the value of a slave in today's dollars might be around $400,000. That's an expensive warning, let alone the value of lost labor.
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