Monday, March 24, 2008


This is an interesting (eyebrow-raising) article. I've thought to myself that many modern Americans believe in the doctrine that "all men ought to be equal," which is a very different thing from "all men ought to be free." If this stuff were going on in America I would absolutely be in favor of stamping it out. I might even potentially be in favor of foreign intervention to suppress it in the American Pond, if I knew a way to do it effectively. I'm a conservative, but that doesn't mean I'm heartless--but I want to know what's possible before I spend American "blood and treasure" on a gesture.

Skinner met with slaves and traffickers in 12 different countries, filling in the substance around a startling fact: there are more slaves on the planet today than at any time in human history. Skinner speaks with Anthony Brooks about his experience researching slavery.

Though now illegal throughout the world, slavery is more or less the same as it was hundreds of years ago, Skinner explains. Slaves are still "those that are forced to work under threat of violence for no pay beyond sustenance."

Something disturbing has changed however — the price of a human. After adjusting for inflation, Skinner found that, "In 1850, a slave would cost roughly $30,000 to $40,000 — in other words it was like investing in a Mercedes. Today you can go to Haiti and buy a 9-year-old girl to use as a sexual and domestic slave for $50. The devaluation of human life is incredibly pronounced."

Frankly, this blows me away. My understanding had always been that slavery was doomed when the industrial revolution made it uneconomical. (Serfdom was doomed when the invention of the horse collar, which lets a horse pull a heavy plough without strangling, made horses more economical for most farm labor than serfs. American slavery was doomed by industrial machines which were cheaper than slaves, although slavery hung on in the South for social reasons such as being a mark of status and a cherished "peculiar institution.") Why have slaves become cheaper? Is this a byproduct of the Green Revolution? I don't understand this.


"The presentation or 'gift' of the Holy Ghost simply confers upon a man the right to receive at any time, when he is worthy of it and desires it, the power and light of truth of the Holy Ghost, although he may often be left to his own spirit and judgment." --Joseph F. Smith (manual, p. 69)
Be pretty if you are,
Be witty if you can,
But be cheerful if it kills you.

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