Mark D. Fulwiler (
Sat, 28 Mar 1998 13:10:42 -0800

"Warrl kyree Tale'sedrin" <> wrote:

> >> Why not point out that in the long run it made the individual
> >> slaveholders worse off?

Mark Fulwiler wrote:

> >Because I don't think this is necessarily true. According to Jeff
> >Hummel, author of "Emancipating Slaves, Enslaving Free Men," slavery
> >provided a return to the slave owner that was comparable to, say,
> >investments in Northern textile mills.

> Not at all. Investment in slaves doesn't produce slaves
> which are many times more productive than the originals.
> Investment in factories does.

I stand by my position. Hummel points out that the return on an
investment in slaves ranged between 8 to 12 per cent, comparable to the
return on capital from an investment in railroads or textile mills.

You are wrong in assuming that slavery absorbed investment income.
Slavery just resulted in a transfer of funds from slaveowners to
slavetraders. Trading slaves no more absorbed savings than trading land
or any other real asset.

The lack of industrialization in the South did not reflect a cost of
slavery. Even without slavery, it still would have been more beneficial
for the South to specialize in agriculture. It's extremely unlikely
textile mills would have sprung up in Mississippi even with a totally
free labor market.

Most of the benefits of the vastly improved productivity of Northern
factories accrued to consumers in the form of lower prices. Investors
benefitted, but no more so than Southern slaveholders.

Why in the world would well educated Southerners invest in slaves if
they could receive a far higher return on their money by investing in
Northern factories or other investments? You are arguing that they were
fools, totally unaware of business and markets. I disagree.