Home » DEMERARA - A Tale (ILLUSTRATIONS OF POLITICAL ECONOMY) by Harriet Martineau
DEMERARA - A Tale (ILLUSTRATIONS OF POLITICAL ECONOMY) Harriet Martineau

DEMERARA - A Tale (ILLUSTRATIONS OF POLITICAL ECONOMY)

Harriet Martineau

Published March 17th 2011
ISBN :
Kindle Edition
102 pages
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 About the Book 

SUMMARY.This volume, like the last, enlarges on principles already laid down. It treats of the respective values of differentkinds of labour, and of a particular mode of investing capital. The truths illustrated may be arranged as follows.PropertyMoreSUMMARY.This volume, like the last, enlarges on principles already laid down. It treats of the respective values of differentkinds of labour, and of a particular mode of investing capital. The truths illustrated may be arranged as follows.Property is held by conventional, not natural right.As the agreement to hold man in property never took place between the parties concerned, i. e., is not conventional, Manhas no right to hold Man in property.Law, i. e., the sanctioned agreement of the parties concerned, secures property.Where the parties are not agreed, therefore, law does not secure property.Where one of the parties under the law is held as property by another party, the law injures the one or the other asoften as they are opposed. Moreover, its very protection injures the protected party,— as when a rebellious slave ishanged.Human labour is more valuable than brute labour, only because actuated by reason- for human strength is inferior tobrute strength.The origin of labour, human and brute, is the Will.The Reason of slaves is not subjected to exercise. nor their will to more than a few weak motives.The labour of slaves is therefore less valuable than that of brutes, inasmuch as their strength is inferior- and lessvaluable than that of free labourers, inasmuch as their Reason and Will are feeble and alienated.Free and slave labour are equally owned by the capitalist.Where the labourer is not held as capital, the capitalist pays for labour only.Where the labourer is held as capital, the capitalist not only pays a much higher price for an equal quantity of labour,but also for waste, negligence, and theft, on the part of the labourer.Capital is thus sunk, which ought to be reproduced.As the supply of slave-labour does not rise and fall with the wants of the capitalist, like that of free labour, heemploys his occasional surplus on works which could be better done by brute labour or machinery.By rejecting brute labour, he refuses facilities for convertible husbandry, and for improving the labour of his slavesby giving them animal food.By rejecting machinery, he declines the most direct and complete method of saving labour.Thus, again, capital is sunk which ought to be reproduced.In order to make up for this loss of capital to slave owners, bounties and prohibitions are granted in their behalf bygovernment- the waste committed by certain capitalists abroad, being thus paid for out of the earnings of those at home.Sugar being the production especially protected, every thing is sacrificed by planters to the growth of sugar. the landis exhausted by perpetual cropping, the least possible portion of it is tilled for food, the slaves are worn out byoverwork, and their numbers decrease in proportion to the scantiness of their food, and the oppressiveness of theirtoil.When the soil is so far exhausted as to place its owner out of reach of the sugar-bounties, more food is raised, lesstoil is inflicted, and the slave population increases.Legislative protection, therefore, not only taxes the people at home, but promotes ruin, misery, and death, in theprotected colonies.