Subject: Re: The term "intellectual property" considered useful
From: Robin 'Roblimo' Miller <robin@roblimo.com>
Date: Fri, 12 May 2006 20:05:25 -0400


>
> I'm sorry, but I fail to see where profit comes from in abolishing 
> slavery. 


Slaves were an investment. You had to pay for them and then take care of 
them, however poorly, and when they got old you *still* had to sort of 
take care of them if you wanted the working-age ones to have any 
performance incentive at all.

In the early 19th century, a whole bunch of starving Irish came to 
America. You didn't have to buy them. You could pay them wages more or 
less equivalent to the cost of feeding and clothing a slave family, and 
when you wore them out you could fire them.

At more or less the same time, Eli Whitney mechanized the process of 
picking seeds out of cotton, which meant that southern plantations' 
labor needs dropped. They still had lots of slaves around, too valuable 
to free (or kill), but not as much use for them. Some plantation owners 
diversified, and some moved west to areas with richer soil, since the 
southern coastal state plains were getting a little played out because 
cotton is hard on your land.

A good number of economically displaced slaveowners wanted to move into 
Kansas -- with their slaves. Best-selling author Harriet Beecher Stowe 
made slaveowners look evil with her book, Uncle Tom's Cabin.  Northern 
factory owners were busily abusing the Irish, and didn't want 
competition from slaveowners. Some of the Irish -- and Scots-Irish and 
other immigrants -- didn't want to compete with slaveowners for land on 
the western frontier.  This led to much screaming over Kansas

Texas, newly overrun with white slaveowners, seceded from Mexico, whose 
laws didn't allow slavery, and joined the United States, where it was 
legal.

These factors, plus some others, led to the Civil War.

Now we have desperate Mexicans instead of desperate Irish, and most of 
our manufacturing is done overseas in countries where wages are even 
lower than Mexico. No need for slavery today! :)

- Robin