Making people work without wages. Sometimes but not always including the sale of workers. Usually not as legally explicit as in the United States before the Civil War. Often the condition is disguised as "debt bondage": the worker is allegedly working to pay off a debt, but the amount "earned" never repays the debt and interest. This form is found in India and Pakistan. Traditional forms are found in Mauretania, and other Sahel countries.

In Sudan, Africans captured by the Arabs are enslaved and there are reports of sales. In Brazil there are reports of debt slavery. Probably there is more hidden slavery in the world.

South African apartheid could be regarded as a form of slavery, and also the gulags of the Soviet Union. Nazi Germany used slaves from occupied Europe in the factories and worked them to death.

The Islamists who support the idea of a renewed Khalifate recognise slavery as part of their proposed system as they declare that the Khalif "cannot be a slave".

In Britain illegal immigrants in agricultural work, and some legal ones too, are exploited by gang masters to cheat them of wages. This would seem to be a form of near-slavery - though the legal ones are covered by British and European labour laws, if they knew how to demand their rights.

All the core capitalist states try to import cheaper workers from the less developed areas, or export jobs such as "call centres". That is, employers always try to reduce wages as low as possible. Slavery is the most extreme of this tendency.

A cure of course is Cooperatives as described in the entry on anarchism.

Another form of slavery is being recognised in the women illegally brought into western countries for prostitution, who are known to be "sold on" by the people who bring them in to brothel owners, and who cannot leave the houses where they "work".

Interesting Reading

James Walvin - Black Ivory - a history of British slavery

Hugh Thomas - Slave Trade

The Slave Trade: History of the Atlantic Slave Trade, 1440-1870

Matthew Parker - the Sugar Barons

The Sugar Barons

Last revised 9/04/11


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