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“American prosperity was built on slavery and torture”

“American prosperity was built on slavery and torture”

Matthew Yglesias of Vox reviews Edward Baptist’ new book: The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism. The article references the “…bizarre (and since retracted) Economist review that accused the book of being “advocacy” rather than “history” on the grounds of the author’s anti-slaveholder bias” that has ironically brought the book welcomed attention.

An excerpt:

“Baptist’s book is rather partisan in the sense that it holds that chattel slavery as practiced in the United States was cruel, that the victims were overwhelmingly black, and that the perpetrators were overwhelming white. It also engages in a number of unorthodox narrative methods that will disquiet some (see Jonathan Wilson’s review for a critique). But the point he’s making is more interesting than the argument that slavery was morally wrong — he offers the thesis that it was also crucially important not just to the history of black people in America or the society of the South, but to the development of industrial capitalism.

This puts Baptist against a tradition which views slavery as a kind of archaic institution…”

The Vox article also features a short video of Ta-Nehisi Coates talking about “The Case for Reparations”, which was found in The Atlantic Monthly. In his article, Coates advances the need to not only “Follow the Money”, but also “Follow the Housing Policy”.


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