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Consequently, commercial and service industries lagged in the South. The region also had far less rail transportation than the North. Yet many plantations used the most advanced technologies of the day, and certain innovative commercial and insurance practices appeared first in transactions involving slaves. What is more, although the South fell behind the North and Great Britain in its level of manufacturing, it compared favorably to other advanced countries of the time.

In sum, no clear consensus emerges as to whether the antebellum South created a standard of living comparable to that of the North or, if it did, whether it could have sustained it. As such, it was undeniably evil. Yet, because slaves constituted valuable property, their masters had ample incentives to take care of them. And, by protecting the property rights of masters, slave law necessarily sheltered the persons embodied within. In a sense, the apologists for slavery were right: slaves sometimes fared better than free persons because powerful people had a stake in their well-being.

But slavery cannot be thought of as benign. In terms of material conditions, diet, and treatment, Southern slaves may have fared as well in many ways as the poorest class of free citizens. Yet the root of slavery is coercion. By its very nature, slavery involves involuntary transactions. Slaves are property, whereas free laborers are persons who make choices at times constrained, of course about the sort of work they do and the number of hours they work.

The behavior of former slaves after abolition clearly reveals that they cared strongly about the manner of their work and valued their non-work time more highly than masters did. Even the most benevolent former masters in the U. South found it impossible to entice their former chattels back into gang work, even with large wage premiums.

Joshua Rosenbloom, University of Kansas

Nor could they persuade women back into the labor force: many female ex-slaves simply chose to stay at home. In the end, perhaps slavery is an economic phenomenon only because slave societies fail to account for the incalculable costs borne by the slaves themselves.

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Boston: Houghton-Mifflin, Barzel, Yoram. Conrad, Alfred H. The Economics of Slavery and Other Studies. Chicago: Aldine, New York: Oxford University Press, Fogel, Robert W. New York: Little, Brown, Galenson, David W. Kotlikoff, Laurence. Ransom, Roger L. Vedder, Richard K. Wright, Gavin. New York: Norton, Yasuba, Yasukichi.

For accounts of slave trading and sales, see Bancroft, Frederic. Slave Trading in the Old South. New York: Ungar, Tadman, Michael.

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Speculators and Slaves. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, For discussion of the profession of slave catchers, see Campbell, Stanley W. The Slave Catchers. To read about slaves in industry and urban areas, see Dew, Charles B. Slavery in the Antebellum Southern Industries. Bethesda: University Publications of America, Goldin, Claudia D. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, Starobin, Robert.

Industrial Slavery in the Old South.

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For discussions of masters and overseers, see Oakes, James. New York: Knopf, Scarborough, William K. On indentured servitude, see Galenson, David. Galenson, David. Grubb, Farley. Menard, Russell R. On slave law, see Fede, Andrew. Finkelman, Paul.

Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina, Slavery, Race, and the American Legal System , New York: Garland, Flanigan, Daniel J. The Criminal Law of Slavery and Freedom, Morris, Thomas D. Schafer, Judith K. Tushnet, Mark V. Princeton: Princeton University Press, Wahl, Jenny B. Other useful sources include Berlin, Ira, and Philip D.

Morgan, eds.

Material Information

London: Frank Cass, Berlin, Ira, and Philip D. Charlottesville, University Press of Virginia, Elkins, Stanley M. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, Engerman, Stanley, and Eugene Genovese. Genovese, Eugene D. Middletown, CT: Wesleyan, Hindus, Michael S. Prison and Plantation.



Margo, Robert, and Richard Steckel. Phillips, Ulrich B. New York: Appleton, Stampp, Kenneth M. Steckel, Richard. Walton, Gary, and Hugh Rockoff. History of the American Economy. Orlando: Harcourt Brace, , chapter Whaples, Robert. Data can be found at U. David Ricardo was one of the greatest theoretical economists of all time.

In he married a Quaker, Priscilla Wilkinson, with whom he was to have eight children. Ricardo became interested in economics in after, apparently by chance, reading the work of Adam Smith. He subsequently published pamphlets and articles analyzing various economic problems of the day, including the stability of the currency and the national debt.

It is an unearned surplus now referred to as an economic rent in that its payment is not necessary to ensure a supply of farmland. For Ricardo, rent arises from the advantages that one site has over another due to differing degrees of soil fertility: rent per acre is highest on the most fertile land, and declines to zero on the worst quality soil.

Joshua Rosenbloom, University of Kansas

Comparative advantage, Ricardo believed, ensured that international trade would bring benefits for all countries; his theory remains the foundation of the economic case for free trade today. He argued that each country should specialize in making the products in which it possessed a comparative advantage, that is could produce relatively efficiently. Ricardo showed that, by specializing in production and then trading, Portugal and England would each achieve greater consumption of both wine and cloth than in the absence of international trade.

Not surprisingly, then, Ricardo opposed the protectionist Corn Laws in place during his lifetime, and upon retiring from the Stock Exchange in , made his case directly to the House of Commons as the member for Portarlington, a pocket borough in Ireland. Ricardo, David. On the Principles of Political Economy, and Taxation. Harmondsworth: Penguin reprint [R.