Imagine that your parent’s or grandparent’s house was invaded by bad men and their wealth and property was stolen. In addition, they were forced to work for these marauders, as were their children, without pay. Some time later on, you find yourself walking down the street and come across that house. It has been done up with lots of improvements and manicured gardens. Ask yourself how you would feel about the situation and the owners of the property now. These are the circumstances many Black people find themselves in. The progeny of gross injustices committed not so long ago in the bigger scheme of things. The profits of slavery and the recompense owed is something we need to talk about.
Talk About Recompensing The Enslaved So Woke
According to the right wing media, Rupert Murdoch’s minions, the anti-wokesters and their ilk this is all water under the bridge. The world has moved on and there is nothing to see here. The beautiful mansions with their gorgeous gardens are gentrified homes for the rich and privileged. Born into wealth these elites have inherited power and opportunity. History is something that happened in dusty old books. It has no bearing on today’s realities, according to the progeny of these white skinned winners of the economic race. This is one of the reasons why these descendants of the wealthy are keen to portray themselves as self-made men. Donald J Trump is the perfect example of just such a former rich kid turned celebrity billionaire who trumpets a narrative about being a self-made man. This story is a bunch of lies and exaggerations, as his father Fred Trump was a very wealthy property developer.
“By the time Fred passed away in 1999, he’d amassed a fortune of around $300 million and gained a reputation as “the Henry Ford of the home-building industry.” So how did the son of a German barber lay the foundations for the Trump Organization? – the man who watered down paint, was arrested at a KKK rally, and made “The Donald” an eight-year-old millionaire.”
Economic Productivity Whipped Into Profitability By Slavery
Slavery and the profits engendered by this barbarous practice filled the coffers of American and British families, businesses, and banks. Throughout the Americas and West Indies slavery was the economic model that many labour intensive activities were run on. The western world grew rich on the dividends of slavery in the sugar, cotton, and mining sectors in particular. Australia was home to blackbirding where Indigenous islanders were exploited in slave/servitude conditions for lifetimes by the families operating and owning plantations. This is not ancient history, this is relatively recently in terms of the economic impact it has had on the wealth of families, states, and nations. In the deep south of America, individual African American slaves had daily picking targets and were whipped if they did not surpass these. Studies by forensic economists have confirmed this by examining the extant books kept by the plantation managers. This in conjunction with the historical evidence left by the slaves themselves and their descendants reveals this vile state of affairs.
I know myself from working in target orientated business models, where pressure is exerted on the sales team and individual sales people to achieve and beat revenue targets how this works. Obviously, we were not whipped for falling short of productivity targets but I know how that economic model functions and the continued pressure that exerts on the individual.
There was a class of slave bosses called overseers and it was these men who whipped the slaves to drive productivity and control the stock. Slaves were stock, considered to be like any other animal on the farm or plantation.
“During Peter’s enslavement on John and Bridget Lyons’ Louisiana plantation, Peter endured not just the indignity of slavery, but a brutal whipping that nearly took his life. And when he joined the Union Army after his escape from slavery, Peter exposed his scars during a medical examination.
Raised welts and strafe marks crisscrossed his back. The marks extended from his buttocks to his shoulders, calling to mind the viciousness and power with which he had been beaten. It was a hideous constellation of scars: visual proof of the brutality of slavery.”
The United States of America fought a war over slavery called The Civil War in 1861-65. President Abraham Lincoln was murdered in its wake by Southerners hell bent on their revenge for losing that war and what it brought them economically. The violence generated by slavery and what it morphed into in the South and throughout the US never really went away. The 400 million guns currently residing in America may, also, have something to do with it as well.
Imagine a vision of a New World built on the misery of millions of dark skinned human beings.
“According to the 1860 census tables found on S. Augustus, Mitchell’s 1861 Map of the United States… the population of the United States was 31,429,891 million, an increase of 8,239,016 as recorded in the 1850 census. Of those 31 million, as also reported on the tables accompanying the map, 3,952,838 were slaves. The map also provides statistics on the free and slave populations in each state as recorded in the 1850 and 1860 census.”
America is not a happy place for many of its inhabitants. Poverty and entrenched economic unfairness are baked into the system there and in many Western nations. The world is not a fair and just place. However, there are those among us who seek to trade on the misery and unfairness for many of its inhabitants. These people and the system that supports their actions need to be stopped and brought to justice. The profits of slavery and the recompense owed must be realised. It is not a ‘woke’ issue in the way the dominant cohort within our populations proclaim, rather it is a very real economic fact. If the profits of slavery built our empires and hegemonies then a reckoning is due to balance the books for future generations. Capital gains must be added up and payments that should have been paid must be subtracted with all necessary interest.
This spring, Darity and his wife, Kirsten Mullen, made the most comprehensive case for a reparations program in their latest book “From Here to Equality: Reparations for Black Americans in the Twenty-First Century.” They argue a meaningful program to eliminate the existing Black-White wealth gap requires an allocation of between $10 trillion and $12 trillion, or about $800,000 to each eligible Black household. But not everyone agrees that now is the time to pay reparations.
“Our national debt is already now up to around $26-27 trillion given the money we’re spending on Covid,” says Michael Tanner, senior fellow at the Cato Institute. “And we’re losing more money because we’re not picking up the revenue because economic growth is so slow right now. This hardly seems the time to burden the economy with more debt, more taxes. Essentially what you want to do is stimulate economic growth for all our benefits.”
Robert Sudha Hamilton is the author of Money Matters: Navigating Credit, Debt & Financial Freedom