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Should we be sorry for slavery?

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  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Toadborg wrote:
    The point is that Africa in 1950 was no worse than many other places in the world, but since then other places have experienced significqant improvements whereas Africa has not, and this is why Africa is now seen as a relatively poor place.

    No, your point was that sub Saharan Africa (almost unaffected by WW2) had a higher average GDP (irrelevant criterium for measurement) than Korea and Vietnam (both utterly screwed in WW2, and Vietnam still in the middle of a civil war and war of independence).

    What are these mysterious "other factors" that stopped Africa developing that supercede the 400 years of its preceding history?
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Why are you ignoring the fact that even before slavery Africa was rather poor?

    other fatcors

    -Geography (many)

    -Resources

    -Civil war

    -Bad policies

    -Western Trade rules (extent debatable)

    -Natural Resource abundance (linked to Geography and civil wars)

    -Health (liked to Geography and bad policy)

    -Corruption (extent debatable)

    etc

    and GDPPC is not an irrelevant measure, yes there are many things it doesn't include, but is still gives a good indication.......
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Toadborg wrote:
    Why are you ignoring the fact that even before slavery Africa was rather poor?

    Loaded question (I'm not ignoring it, the assertion hasn't been brought up). Africa was no more poor, in terms of material needs, before slavery than afterwards, indeed it was considerably less poor (less famine, better demographic spread, settlement patterns to sustain life, culture,) than after slavery and colonialism, and certainly displayed less inequality. And don't forget that much of Europe and the Americas was "rather poor" before slavery as well.
    other fatcors

    -Geography (many)

    What does that mean?
    -Resources

    -Natural Resource abundance (linked to Geography and civil wars)

    This seems to be a contradiction - is your contention that Africa has too many resources or not enough?
    -Civil war

    -Bad policies

    -Health (liked to Geography and bad policy)

    -Corruption (extent debatable)

    These factors aren't explanatory, all they do is describe the mess that Africa is in. What I am saying is that slavery (and then colonialism) is what led to Africa's current state. The 400 years of subordination, exploitation, depopulation, etc etc and then (after decolonization) a power vacuum with a brutalized and impoverished population could lead to little else except conflict, civil war, corrupt autocratic and/or military governments and a generally fucked up continent. Especially when the west (and the USSR during the Cold War) continued to economically exploit it as much as possible, armed various factions to the teeth, and deny medicinal patents, fair trade rules, etc. Which brings us to:
    -Western Trade rules (extent debatable)
    etc

    i.e. further and continued subordination to the west.
    and GDPPC is not an irrelevant measure, yes there are many things it doesn't include, but is still gives a good indication

    No, the whole analogy was crass, I've shown you why; simply re-asserting your point is not going to prove it.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    carlito wrote:
    Loaded question (I'm not ignoring it, the assertion hasn't been brought up). Africa was no more poor, in terms of material needs, before slavery than afterwards, indeed it was considerably less poor (less famine, better demographic spread, settlement patterns to sustain life, culture,) than after slavery and colonialism, and certainly displayed less inequality. And don't forget that much of Europe and the Americas was "rather poor" before slavery as well.



    What does that mean?



    This seems to be a contradiction - is your contention that Africa has too many resources or not enough?



    These factors aren't explanatory, all they do is describe the mess that Africa is in. What I am saying is that slavery (and then colonialism) is what led to Africa's current state. The 400 years of subordination, exploitation, depopulation, etc etc and then (after decolonization) a power vacuum with a brutalized and impoverished population could lead to little else except conflict, civil war, corrupt autocratic and/or military governments and a generally fucked up continent. Especially when the west (and the USSR during the Cold War) continued to economically exploit it as much as possible, armed various factions to the teeth, and deny medicinal patents, fair trade rules, etc. Which brings us to:



    i.e. further and continued subordination to the west.



    No, the whole analogy was crass, I've shown you why; simply re-asserting your point is not going to prove it.

    Do you have evidence for Africa being better off 'before slavery'.

    Anyway that is besides the point, the TransAtlantic slave trade is not a major reason for Africa being rather poor today.

    To argue that civil wars, corruption etc are an inevitable result of slavery or colonialism is also wrong as demonstrated by the many countries regions that have been comparatively successful in the post-colonial era.

    Of course history is important, and the further back you go the larger the effects on the present. But there are far more fundamental reasons as to why Africa is poor today......
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    carlito wrote:
    Because you do not suffer from it. I still find it remarkable that you do not believe other people feel a certain way because you do not feel that way yourself. Nor do I suffer from it, but I can imagine that if up to 150 years ago my ancestors had been abducted from their homes, taken to another continent (with ten times the amount of their countrymen dying on the way) and worked to death - all on the pretext that they were a subhuman race - then I saw members of the race who had perpetrated this atrocity belittling its influence when it is so abundantly clear and denying that I should feel any anguish about it, I'd be pretty fucking pissed off. Not only that, but I'd suspect that they still held similar sentiments. But, as I said before, you don't have to imagine it, and you can't deny it, because people can and do feel like this, the evidence is there with all those asking for an apology. If you have any black friends, ask what they think about it: they might not care, you might be suprised at how much they care.

    It just seems like such a pointless waste of emotions, I'm sure that quite a lot of crap things have happened to my family over the years, same as everyone, but to let it distress you now sounds almost like an extravagance, its wallowing in past misery for no reason.

    And I asked the two black people I work with and niether feel in anyway affected by slavery, one is from the West of Africa and one is British.

    Again, I should stress, I'm not suggesting that the current lot of Blacks is lovely all over the World, I'm just suggesting that blaming slavery for current problems doesnt solve anything and doesnt get you anywhere.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Toadborg wrote:
    Do you have evidence for Africa being better off 'before slavery'.

    Well, firstly, it goes without saying that there was less inequality. But your question depends entirely what you mean by "better off." In terms of value of material goods present on the African continent, it was "better off" after slavery. Unfortunatly the vast majority of the value of these material goods comprised of guns and armaments. And it made the average value of the possessions of each person greater because it killed or abducted half of them. I would suggest that is not "better off." And as I argued before, it seriously disrupted the existing economy (gearing it almost entirely towards slavery), settlement patterns (which means future famines and refugee crises), genetic strength, introduced diseases and epidemics, and destroyed culture. It led to colonialism which further exploited it.

    Anyway its only half the point whether or not Africa was "better off" before or after the transatlantic slave trade: the whole point is that had there been no slave trade it most probably would have developed very differently, and more positively, than it did.
    To argue that civil wars, corruption etc are an inevitable result of slavery or colonialism is also wrong as demonstrated by the many countries regions that have been comparatively successful in the post-colonial era.

    And what is the most obvious historical difference between those post-colonial regions and Africa? Well, they did not have their populations halved by slavery, nor were their economies, surviving populations, and cultures distorted over 300 years towards kidnapping each other to sell to Europeans. The key thing to realise here is that blacks have historically been valued lowest by whites, and been treated accordingly. Compare the nature of colonial society in Asia to Africa for instance (think of India, Burma, etc). Whist still possessing the evils of colonialism, they were considerably more benign than colonialism in Africa, which was probably the most brutal anywhere. The colonialists built extensive railways and other infrastructure, judicial systems, etc. This only occurred to a very superficial extent in Africa. The nature of colonial rule in Africa was a direct consequence of the dehumanization, humiliation, and subordination inherent to slavery, and the state it was in after the slave trade was abolished (note that most of Africa was colonized less than a generation after the abolition of slavery).
    Anyway that is besides the point, the TransAtlantic slave trade is not a major reason for Africa being rather poor today...Of course history is important, and the further back you go the larger the effects on the present. But there are far more fundamental reasons as to why Africa is poor today

    You keep repeating this, but you really haven't provided those reasons (except for "Geography"). You've simply stated the symptoms (civil war, corruption, famine) and said that they are the causes. Everything has a cause and effect. What do you think caused the civil wars, refugee crises etc?
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    budda wrote:
    Again, I should stress, I'm not suggesting that the current lot of Blacks is lovely all over the World, I'm just suggesting that blaming slavery for current problems doesnt solve anything and doesnt get you anywhere.

    Its not so much about blame as historical interpretation and explanation, which does get us somewhere: it increases our knowledge and understanding: of the past, of humanity, of where we came from, and so of oursevles. It solves the question of why Africa is how it is and reminds us not to repeat our mistakes in the future, and not to take our present "liberal" standards for granted.
    It just seems like such a pointless waste of emotions, I'm sure that quite a lot of crap things have happened to my family over the years, same as everyone, but to let it distress you now sounds almost like an extravagance, its wallowing in past misery for no reason.

    I agree with you that it is a waste in some ways, in that it detracts from the drive to get things done now (although as I said before remembering what happened in the past is important - is it a "pointless waste of emotions" to remember war dead on November 11th?). Which is why it is my opinion that we should apologise to those people who still habour resentment and "wallow in past misery" so we can all move on and do something about the problems of today, which are legion. To deny them their "extravagance," if you will.

    Maybe at the same time we should also demolish the Holocaust memorial in Berlin to stop the Jews' "extravagance" as well?

    That sounds like an extreme interpretation of what you said - the point I'm trying to make is that the effects of history on people's identities and rememberance of past events is part of almost every culture and society in the world, and this is especially important to peoples who have suffered terrible tragedies (particularly persecution and exploitation). To deny one section of humanity this is unfair and hypocritical.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    carlito wrote:
    To deny one section of humanity this is unfair and hypocritical.

    Which is exactly what you've already done on this thread. You had nothing to say about the descendents of French Huguenots in Britain or Russian Jews in the US, to take just two examples.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    carlito wrote:
    The key thing to realise here is that blacks have historically been valued lowest by whites, and been treated accordingly.

    I think the Irish would disagree with you on this point, in fact in large parts of the US during slavery an Irish worker was worth even less than a black.
    carlito wrote:
    The colonialists built extensive railways and other infrastructure, judicial systems, etc. This only occurred to a very superficial extent in Africa.

    I wouldnt exactly say the infrastructure put in place in South Africa was 'superficial'.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Which is exactly what you've already done on this thread. You had nothing to say about the descendents of French Huguenots in Britain or Russian Jews in the US, to take just two examples.

    I haven't said anything about them because that is not the issue: the issue is the transatlantic slave trade.

    But that doesn't mean that I deny them the right to have historical memory and identity, in fact, I acitvely applaud them for knowing and caring about the past.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    budda wrote:
    I think the Irish would disagree with you on this point, in fact in large parts of the US during slavery an Irish worker was worth even less than a black.

    Alright...you're probably right there. But I was talking in very general terms (i.e. the population of the world) and the Irish make up a pretty small proportion of exploited peoples (which of course is not to say that they to should be denied the memory of this exploitation/subordination).
    I wouldnt exactly say the infrastructure put in place in South Africa was 'superficial'.

    Yes, again you're right, but I think we can all agree that South Africa represents something of an anomoly on that continent.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    carlito wrote:
    Its not so much about blame as historical interpretation and explanation, which does get us somewhere: it increases our knowledge and understanding: of the past, of humanity, of where we came from, and so of oursevles. It solves the question of why Africa is how it is and reminds us not to repeat our mistakes in the future, and not to take our present "liberal" standards for granted.

    I will repeat MY mistake then and state,without fear of contradiction, that to the best of MY knowledge I came from my mother`s womb.

    Unfortunately, that knowledge has not solved the question of why "Africa" is how it is today.

    I find the best way of not taking MY "liberal" standards for granted is to ask those I consider close to me to give me a slap (metaphorical,of course) if I should let those standards drop..
    carlito wrote:
    I agree with you that it is a waste in some ways, in that it detracts from the drive to get things done now (although as I said before remembering what happened in the past is important - is it a "pointless waste of emotions" to remember war dead on November 11th?).

    Remember what though ? Which "war dead" ?
    carlito wrote:
    Which is why it is my opinion that we should apologise to those people who still habour resentment and "wallow in past misery" so we can all move on and do something about the problems of today, which are legion. To deny them their "extravagance," if you will.

    It may be helpful if you would deny yourself the extravagance of "we" and "our" in your postings.
    carlito wrote:
    Maybe at the same time we should also demolish the Holocaust memorial in Berlin to stop the Jews' "extravagance" as well?

    There are some who would label the Holocaust industry more of a shakedown.
    carlito wrote:
    That sounds like an extreme interpretation of what you said - the point I'm trying to make is that the effects of history on people's identities and rememberance of past events is part of almost every culture and society in the world, and this is especially important to peoples who have suffered terrible tragedies (particularly persecution and exploitation). To deny one section of humanity this is unfair and hypocritical.

    That gobbledegook sounds like a Marx-like call of "Shakedowners of the world unite" :nervous:
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    carlito wrote:
    I haven't said anything about them because that is not the issue: the issue is the transatlantic slave trade.

    And I'm surprised that you cannot see how it goes beyond that. How many countries are there with an entirely bloodless history free of all forms of persecution and wrongdoing? Should every nation draw up a list of all those it has wronged years ago for the purpose of reassuring and comforting everybody because of their suffering 'historical identity'? (I give very little credence personally to such a concept).
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