slaveries compared



Slavery is not merely forced labour but where said labourers can be bought and sold, where they become a form of property. That makes it different than, say, serfdom, military conscription or prison labour.

Some slaves were worked to death, like in Haiti, Barbados or in the mines of the Roman Republic, while others got Sundays off or became military commanders. In some societies, slaves were seen as less than human, while in others they were seen as merely unfortunate. Cruelty and dehumanization are not necessary features of slavery.

Slavery started out as a side effect of war: the losers would be made into slaves, like the women of Troy after its fall. Societies grew to depend on slave labour. That increased demand, which led to slave raiding, slave trading, slavery as a punishment for crime, slavery as a way to pay off debts, and so on.

That meant that slaves were often…

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