Yet Another Half Untold



Slavery cannot drive capitalism or economic growth and economic development because it creates large, though largely hidden, negative externalities or costs. This chapter critiques the recent work of Ed Baptist, Sven Beckert, Robin Blackburn, Walter Johnson, Calvin Schermerhorn, and other historians who claim that chattel slavery drove American, British, and more broadly, Western economic growth and economic development (capitalism) by arguing that while slavery is profitable for enslavers, it creates large negative externalities, or hidden costs akin to pollution, that render slavery not only immoral but economically damaging. Wright introduces the broken window parable of Frederic Bastiat to explain that economic effects are often hidden and need to be sought out if economic phenomena are to be properly understood and notes that these hidden costs form yet another half of the untold story of slavery, a play on Baptist’s 2014 The Half Has Never Been Told.


Child Labor Negative Externality Labor Regime Child Soldier Slave Labor 
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© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Augustana UniversitySioux FallsUSA

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