Reviews - What do customers think about The Political Economy of Slavery: Studies in the Economy and Society of the Slave South (Wesleyan Paperback)?
Fine Resource Nov 29, 2007
In this engaging text, the author outlines both the profitable aspects of slavery that allowed the institution to become so widespread, and the detrimental (financially and otherwise) aspects that became clear only much later and allowed the system to finally collapse onto itself through the majority of Europe and - in all probability, had not the Civil War occurred to hasten the collapse - in the United States.
Genovese discusses the drawbacks of slavery in an engaging and sensitive manner, pointing out that the slaves' distressing tendencies to break sensitive farming equipment was due not to a flaw in their intelligence, but rather to a calculated cleverness on their part: Broken farming equipment cannot be used, and therefore there is no work until the equipment can be replaced. Under these conditions, and hundreds of others, the "free" labor offered by slaves was actually quite costly. These hidden costs are outlined carefully and exhaustively by Genovese, and this book is a 'must-have' for any student of the subject.