A Conversation for Long-Distance Slavery (UG)

Thought provoking

Post 1

Vestboy

One problem is that if it isn't currently happening it is history.
If someone earns from a crime and we can catch them we can take the money back from them and give it to the victim. If their great grandfather earned from a crime (or crimes) and passes it down the family line then it is harder to take the money back. Harder, but not impossible. Some Jewish families are getting their possessions back after the holocaust, when they can be traced. This is going back more than 60 years and must be close to the point at which people start to say "That's history - we shouldn't penalise the present generation for the sins of their fathers." But somehow the taking back of the paintings, sculptures, antiques, jewellery and other fine arts seems to be fair. While the people who were stolen from (or their children) are still around reparation seem the right thing to do.

The question which you beg is should the slaves great grandchildren now be compensated for the lack of earnings of their ancestors (often many, many people in the same family) plus interest (not even mentioning pain, suffering or emotional injury)?

My guess is that the statute of limitations would say this is not legally possible - but who knows.

The other group in the US is the native Americans. I know they were tricked out of most of their land and suffered at the hands of the immigrant white people.

I'm not sure how many indigenous populations still control their own lands. We Brits were taken over by invaders from the north and more recently the French (1066 is, of course, quite a while ago). We then carried on that tradition to invade a huge number of people's homelands and take what wasn't ours.

If we are hurting people a long way away by our actions we need to rethink our actions. The problem we face is that our society is built on consumerism. I thought the point you were going to make was that WE are the slaves to money. When things go wrong we look to see if credit can be made available so that people can continue to live beyond their means and replace items that are still eminently serviceable. Fashion clothing, gadgets, vinyl to tape to CD to DVD and so on.

This means that we continue to earn money producing things that people don't really need and so we overcommit our personal time and resources.

CAFOD (Catholic Fund for Overseas Development) ran a strip cartoon many years back showing some entrepreneurs trying to convince a subsistence farmer to grow cash crops.

The farmer is lazily sitting outside his hut chewing a stalk of grass.

Entrepreneur: You need to get busy and start growing cash crops.
Farmer: What for?
Entrepreneur: You could earn money
Farmer: What for?
Entrepreneur: Then you could pay workers
Farmer: What for?
Entrepreneur: Well, they could work for you
Farmer: What for?
Entrepreneur: Then you could sit back and relax
Farmer: I'm already doing that without all that hassle!


Thought provoking

Post 2

Dmitri Gheorgheni - Not Banned in China

The problem with reparations going back over generations is partly the problem of inherited 'collective guilt'.

Which can raise other issues.

For instance, in the 17th and 18th centuries, the majority of people who came to North America from the British Isles were not free.

They were indentured servants - short-term slaves. (Many did not survive their seven-year terms.)

To assume guilt and profit-taking on the basis of race would be to ignore the exploitation of these people by the system as well.

The exploitation of sharecroppers in the post-Civil War era and into the 1940s was not only ethnically based, but also class-based.

I recommend an excellent book on the subject by Tom Goad, 'Redneck'.

Solutions to such problems are usually quite complex. But taking a good, hard look at them is a first start.


Thought provoking

Post 3

Vestboy

Well put. If we don't learn from history we commit ourselves to a miserable future.


Key: Complain about this post

More Conversations for Long-Distance Slavery (UG)

Write an Entry

"The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is a wholly remarkable book. It has been compiled and recompiled many times and under many different editorships. It contains contributions from countless numbers of travellers and researchers."

Write an entry
Read more