Friday, February 19, 2016

This is what I am talking about

The New York Times covered a project by Edward Baptist to collect runaway slave ads. The website for the project states that "Such ads provide significant quantities of individual and collective information about the economic, demographic, social, and cultural history of slavery, but they have never been systematically collected.” I added the underline.

Yet another illustration of the superiority of the New History of Capitalism. Why didn’t economic historians think to use this valuable resource? Why didn’t they try to systematically collect this data? It must be because of their narrow mindedness: their ideological and methodological constraints.

Oh, wait a minute. Here is a link to a working paper by Suresh Naidu and Jeremiah Dittmar based upon the 29,000 runaway slave ads they collected. This isn’t new. They received funding from Institute for New Economic Thinking and they have been presenting the work at conferences for about 4 years now, including the Economic History Association and the Organization of American Historians. 

Earlier, John Komlos had done a study that involved more than 10,000 ads. 

All  of this isn't to say that it is not potentially a good project and one that may add to our knowledge, but can you honestly say that it has never been systematically collected?

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