Monday, June 4, 2018

Free and Unfree Labor: The Political Economy of Capitalism, Share-Cropping, and Slavery

The UCLA Center for Social Theory and Comparative History hosted an event on the topic of Free and Unfree Labor in March. Below is a link to the page that has an audio recording. Unfortunately, there does not appear to be video.

Gavin Wright is William Robertson Coe Professor of American Economic History, Stanford University and author of Sharing the Prize: The Economics of the Civil Rights Revolution in the American South (2018) and Slavery and American Economic Development (2006). Professor Wright will present on "Slavery and Anglo-American Capitalism.”
Suresh Naidu is Associate Professor of Economics and Public Affairs at Columbia University. Professor Naidu will present on "Labor Markets in the Shadow of American Slavery.”
John Clegg is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Sociology at NYU. His paper is entitled “The Real Wages of Whiteness.”

Wright tells why Eric Williams, Barbara Solow, and Joseph Inikori are right about the importance of British development during the Industrial Revolution and Ed Baptist is wrong about the importance of slavery for American economic development during the 19th century. He also has some positive things to say about the recent work of historians like Caitlin Rosenthal and economists like Trevon Logan.

Naidu talks about the importance of the overall repressiveness of the South as a prerequisite for repression on individual plantations.

Clegg talks about his work on wages of poor whites. It seemed the most preliminary and most difficult to assess without access to the actual paper, or at least the tables and graphs. He points to the recent work of Keri Leigh Merritt, but it was not clear to what extent he regards his work as either supporting or contradicting hers.

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