Is indenturing/enslaving people right ?

Hell YEAH
6 (40%)
HELL NO
9 (60%)

Total Members Voted: 14

sams on October 21, 2010, 02:37:12 am
Hello guys I remember that when I frequented the now deceased Fr33agents website, people went all made at me suggesting that people should work their debts off, in some kind of indenture ... They almost kicked me out  ;D

Looks like our little lawyer don't want slavery, but she is not the same, many people will tell you that we are ''blabla civilized'' and we cannot resort to this and what about the poor and idiotic people who will get trapped in such things ?

My personal opinion ? You commit a crime, pay off the victim the way you guys agree to, being it sexual favour, labour or otherwise.

A I am being too extreme  ;D

DmL on October 21, 2010, 02:50:20 am
Well, I'm not a regular here, in fact I registered just to reply.  But I would say that you judge a civilization more by how their slaves are treated than by whether they have them.

jamesd on October 21, 2010, 04:49:09 am
I support slavery:  I oppose slavery on the basis of race, or slavery on the basis of being on the losing side of a war or raid, but slavery on the basis of being improvident, broke, and criminal sounds like a good solution.

Archonix on October 21, 2010, 05:05:52 am
Oddly enough, indentured servitude to pay off debts was the norm of slavery in most of greco-roman world and references to slavery in the bible, often used to justify later race-based slavery, were actually to this debt-payment indenture. In parts of Africa, the middle east and Arabia slavery was based primarily on conquest (and was usually accompanied by gelding of male slaves), which is where the late Roman empire got its idea from and where we later got our unfortunate dalliance with african slavery from in turn, but this sort of slavery can't be justified morally or even economically. It assumes that some people are only capable of being slaves and it depresses wages.

Roland on October 21, 2010, 06:50:53 am
Seems to me slavery is the logical product to an an-cap society - for the unscrupulous and powerful are not to be stopped. Sorry for all you idealistic anarchists out here, but you totally underestimate human psyche. Greed is the motor of kapitalism, and if no one is to stop the greedy ones, they will suck on their weaker (or more scrupulous) neighbors. I suppose this exactly was the way from unformalized clan and family structures to the installation of personal power over others in the ancient times...
And for the human psyche, people may be disgusted by such individuals, but they will not do anything until they feel themselves are in danger - but then it might be too late. Solidarity mostly doesn`t work, as for example the recent continuous downfall of the workers unions in Germany shows. For as proved by reality over and over again, the reaction of the have-nots to the have-alls is not to fight, but to try to take the same road. Even when there is a social revolution, it is not lead by the have-nots, but by "errant" have-alls.  Marx, Engels and their bunch are the best example.

For me the installation of slavery as a legal instrument of compensation and punishment for misdoers is the first signal that the belters' culture in this fiction is not free of this development, and in the long end there might be a new world order istalled. If our belters are lucky, they will be aware of the danger and gather control over this process, which means another experiment in shared power (e.g. democracy). Yet they might fail and some oligarchy of rich bad-asses might get installed...

I feel slave labour is a very proper method to punish mis-doers as well as to compensate for the loss of the victim. Yet the border to enforced wage-slavery is weak. To avoid misuse the controll over the slave-penitent should not be given to the receiver of the compensation, but stay in neutral hands. But this would mean some form of political organisation and community authorities.


Azure Priest on October 21, 2010, 07:14:53 am
The line between indentured servitude and slavery is very thin and often blurred, but a good rule of thumb is "indentured servants have rights, slaves have none because slaves are not people."

Indentured servitude for the purposes of paying off debts or in exchange for certain goods and services IS accepted practice world wide. Just look at the next time a big sports team "trades" one or more of its players. The players are compensated quite handsomely in exchange as part of their contract. Most employees are also indentured servants to some degree. Do you get to arbitrarily decide what hours you work or what days of the week? Do you arbitrarily decide WHERE you work? How much you are paid?

Freedom is always a balancing act between your desires and your obligations.

@ Roland, slavery and its ugly siblings happen far more frequently in communal, socialist, or feudal structures than in capitalist ones. You might want to put down your Marxist manifesto and look at the actual history of everywhere the "worker's paradise" has been tried. China, "you have the right to do what the government tells you at the rate the government decides you will be paid. If you give up that right, you can and will be run over by a tank." Soviet union, "you have the right to stay in absolute poverty while the politbureau dictates your life. If you try to abstain and leave, or even try to better yourselves, we can and will label you and your entire family 'traitor' hunt you down and kill you."

As for indentured servitude being used to punish criminals, it worked quite nicely in many places, including the US. Prison populations USED TO have to do "hard labor" as part of their sentences (road construction, making license plates, mining, working a farm, etc.). Now, in the name of "compassion," they don't do anything but spend X number of years sitting in a cell getting angrier and angrier at "the man" who wronged them as opposed to actually doing penance for their crimes. Not a very effective model is it?

terry_freeman on October 21, 2010, 08:11:04 am
@Roland, you have somehow managed to miss two important features of an AnCap society.

1) you may have more money, but you never have more rights.
2) you may have more money, but everyone has the right of self-defense.

So, if you harbor fantasies about capturing sex slaves, you face some serious problems. The first being that you cannot externalize security costs; you cannot force tax slaves to build your lavish den of iniquity and defend it against others.

The second problem is that your intended victims might violently object; you cannot depend upon the State to disarm them. In short, implementing your lurid fantasies would be a chancy business.


J Thomas on October 21, 2010, 08:40:15 am
Oddly enough, indentured servitude to pay off debts was the norm of slavery in most of greco-roman world and references to slavery in the bible, often used to justify later race-based slavery, were actually to this debt-payment indenture.

Didn't Sparta have whole populations of conquered hereditary slaves? And wasn't slavery of conquered people pretty common across Greece? There was an invasion of Sicily where the Athenians lost and all the surviving soldiers were enslaved. There was Melos where they killed the men and enslaved the women and children. Lots of examples of that sort of thing. And they bought a lot of slaves from thrace and points east. Some of them were sold as children by destitute parents, some were just captured and enslaved. Did the greeks free them when they had by some sort of reckoning paid off their final price?

Biblical stories look mixed too. When the Israelites first conquered Canaan they took slaves, and some of the tribes living there tricked them into accepting them as slaves rather than kill them.

There are written injunctions among the laws not to enslave foreigners who visit Israel just because they are foreigners in Israel, not without some good reason. I don't recall any punishment listed for people who do it, the rule just says not to. Is it plausible that this might have happened a lot? The claim was that every 50 years all the slaves were supposed to be freed. If that was followed it would imply that the amount of credit offered to debtors would drop each year until the 50th year. When you can be enslaved for less than one year, you are worth much less than when you can go for 50 years if you live that long. But I don't know whether that custom was ever actually practiced. And anyway it would be only for Israelites who were enslaved for debts, and not for foreign slaves captured by the army or bought from foreigners.

Quote
In parts of Africa, the middle east and Arabia slavery was based primarily on conquest (and was usually accompanied by gelding of male slaves), which is where the late Roman empire got its idea from and where we later got our unfortunate dalliance with african slavery from in turn, but this sort of slavery can't be justified morally or even economically. It assumes that some people are only capable of being slaves and it depresses wages.

I understand that the classical justification was that slavery was kinder than genocide, which was the alternative.

Economically? If two people agree on a price, then they both think they are better off. The old slaveowner prefers the money and the new slaveowner prefers the item sold. If they each think they are better off economically after the trade, who are you to disagree?

Whether or not you are capable of more than being a slave, the question at hand is whether you will make a capable slave. If you think you're capable of more than that you can try to make a deal with you master. Perhaps like, "I can make you more money if I behave like a free man than as a slave. I would do things to make money that you can't make me do with whips. So set a price, and let me work for it, and when I have brought you enough money then let me buy myself with it." The master might agree. Or the master might try to whip you until you agree to take initiative and make lots of money to keep from being whipped more. Or something else. The master gets a free choice whether to take you up on it, like any other monopolist.

macsnafu on October 21, 2010, 08:48:37 am
It seems to me that there's quite a difference between working off a debt and outright slavery.   Human nature won't change in an Ancap society, but there won't be a strong, coercive power base like government that has the "legitmacy" of most people.

People like Roland assume that without a strong government to keep things under control, the rich become the most powerful force in society and are unstoppable. This overlooks the obvious fact that what the rich do now is utilize the power of the government to get their way, and without that government power, it becomes more costly for the rich to screw over other people, which affects their bottom line.  Without monopolies, subsidies, and other government privileges, the rich can only become rich the old-fashioned way: by providing a product or service that lots of people want and are willing to pay for (or by inheriting it).  People who become rich this way have less interest in controlling than in serving.

Thus, there's plenty of reason to believe that slavery is actually less likely in Ancap than in current society.
I love mankind.  It's PEOPLE I can't stand!  - Linus Van Pelt.

SandySandfort on October 21, 2010, 09:27:50 am
this sort of slavery can't be justified morally or even economically. It assumes that some people are only capable of being slaves and it depresses wages.

This is not the reason that chattel slavery does not work. Many years ago, I edited a small libertarian self-liberation magazine called Freedom Today. One day, I was thinking about how much of the product of a person's labor was eaten up by taxes. We know that it can be as high as half. So I asked one of the writers to do some research about slavery and how much of what slaves produced, they actually consumed and how much went to the master. The answer was enlightening. In every culture and era he researched, the answer was that slaves consumed about 90% of what they produced. Thus their "tax" to the master was only about 10%.

Why might this be the case? I put it down to incentive structures. The free man is motivated to produce quantity and quality for his customers or employers. Why? Because he becomes more valuable to them and, thus, will make more for himself and his family.

Slaves live in a socialist society. Unless the are obvious layabouts, they get the same reward (food, clothing, housing) no matter how hard they work. So there is an incentive only to look productive, but not necessarily to be productive. So malingering becomes an art. Take as much as you can from the system and contribute as little as possible.

As a result, the "free" labor of slaves is a lot more costly than the salaries paid to free men. Now the incentive structure for indentured servants has a much different. If the servant is working off a some-certain and is paying it off on the basis of what he is producing, he is motivated to produce more, to get out of servitude faster. That sounds more like the incentive structure of free men and it is the model I am using in the strip. (Indenture based on time, not productivity is more like a slaves incentive structure and far more likely to increase malingering and to reduce productivity.)

SandySandfort on October 21, 2010, 09:53:52 am
Coincidentally, this morning I was doing research for an upcoming EFT arc. I was researching a school in Colorado for servants (though they refer to it as "private service").  A friend of mine had attended and had become an estate manager for several multi-millionaires and one billionaire. She was under a five-year non-disclosure agreement, so could only tell about two of her first employers. One was the parents of the Baldwin boys and the other was Spielberg. (She told me the most amazing stories about the rich and famous.)

You would be astounded at what high-end estate managers, butlers, maids, nannies and chefs are paid. It is a very financially rewarding career. Which is interesting to me, becomes so many people think of private service as being a slave. It just ain't so. This is sad, because many of the people who think they are "too good" to be a "lowly servant" are making less money and getting fewer perks from the jobs they spend four years and countless tens of thousands of dollars to qualify for.  Anyway, if you are curious, here is the URL for the school:

     http://www.starkeyintl.com/index.html

quadibloc on October 21, 2010, 10:07:29 am
The morality of "slavery on the basis of being on the losing side of a war or raid"... depends on which side won. If an aggressor took slaves, that's wrong. If people participating in a criminal act of aggression were defeated, though, slavery for them sounds exactly the same to me as slavery for any other kind of criminal.

In any case, when thieves steal the fruits of another's labor, they are in effect imposing slavery on their victim. Requiring them to return what they have stolen is not an act of promoting slavery, it is an act of opposing slavery. It is a terrible confusion, to which this strip is calling attention, to equate theft with restitution. Involuntary servitude by reason of having committed a crime is not among that which the Thirteenth Amendment forbids.

J Thomas on October 21, 2010, 10:23:42 am

Slaves live in a socialist society. Unless the are obvious layabouts, they get the same reward (food, clothing, housing) no matter how hard they work. So there is an incentive only to look productive, but not necessarily to be productive. So malingering becomes an art. Take as much as you can from the system and contribute as little as possible.

This same exact argument applies the same exact way to salaried employees, particularly in large companies.

But you can offer employees bonuses and perqs. That can help some. They will at least try to look like they're productive. And the better you can inspect their work the better you can reward results instead of appearance. Slaves and salaried employees do best when they are given well-defined tasks that are easy to inspect. "If it isn't inspected, it's neglected."

So, didn't US slaves get various incentives? For one, beer. For another, time to work in their own personal gardens. Some slaves were allowed to marry. Some were allowed to perform stud service. And all could avoid punishment by doing adequate work, provided the work could be competently inspected.

Things are somewhat better today for salaried employees than they used to be for slaves. And some ways they are worse. If you do badly you are not sold, but merely fired. Then you can spend up to a year or even more extending your credit card debt until you find an employer who will take you on and give you the chance to pay the debt down. To be a slave that nobody wants, begging for the chance to get a new master.... And the people who do this clearly lack whatever it takes to be free, to be other than employees.

sams on October 21, 2010, 10:45:04 am

Slaves live in a socialist society. Unless the are obvious layabouts, they get the same reward (food, clothing, housing) no matter how hard they work. So there is an incentive only to look productive, but not necessarily to be productive. So malingering becomes an art. Take as much as you can from the system and contribute as little as possible.

This same exact argument applies the same exact way to salaried employees, particularly in large companies.


Are you intellectually challenged ? lol

Salaried person has nothing in common with Slaves dude, don't come with comparisons that don't apply ... an employee is paid for some work he is expected to produce, slave IS OWNED by someone else

All the crying about how An Cap society descend in slavery is downright wrong, the whole system rely on trust, being that nobody is going to arbitration if someone was abused during his pay ''back time'' ... also Anyone who want to engage in this kind of schemes, like the Royal Navy habit of kidnapping people, you really need some BIG armed gang, because everyone around you do have LOTS of weapons.

Pay back is a bitch my friend, don't forget it.

Archonix on October 21, 2010, 11:35:14 am
*Blistering reality*

Mostly conceded. The difference between the idealised model and what actually happened is painful.

The difference between indentured slaves and chattels becomes clearer when the flaws of my argument are considered (see? I can't lose!) by highlighting the basic injustice of chattel slavery, where the justification is merely the fact that one side is stronger, whereas indentured slavery is in theory a mutual agreement to pay off debt.

The concept of indenture for paying debts isn't so unusual as people think, either, nor is chattel slavery actually ended. It goes under different names now. Prison inmates in the US are often used as effective slave labour, though they're paid a minimal wage as a cover for it and it's seen as paying off their debt to society. And who hasn't heard the old song The Company Store?

 

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