Table of Contents
Slavery in the U.S. serves as a classic, historical case of the blue pill. It involved three components:
- Unconscionable violence;
- Economic rigging.
Slave owners—part of the economic elite in the 18th and 19th centuries—needed to keep the public ‘asleep,’ normalize their egregious actions, in order to unethically profit through slavery. To this day, many focus on the disenfranchisement and violence of slavery, without recognizing the greed that motivated it.
The desire to unethically profit fueled slavery in not only the U.S. but all around the world.
It’s a simple calculation: slave owners kept a greater portion of the money they made because they did not have to pay wages to their slaves. If the Congress members, particularly representatives of the Southern states, had properly performed their duty to protect the public interests, they would have outlawed slavery and/or made owning slaves cost-prohibitive. The latter could have been achieved by mandating fair wages for all laborers, regardless of their skin, gender, or creed.
It would be naive to think that making slavery economically untenable would have ended racism. Nevertheless, the basic human rights that were afforded to the enslaved much too late might have come much sooner. The enslaved would have remained in their homelands, free to journey elsewhere on their own volition; much of the violence to the black community might have been mitigated, and the gap between the wealthy and the poor might not be so wide today.
Zero Theft Principles
- Slave owners wanted to make as much money as possible for as little labor as possible, at all moral and ethical costs.
- Their tool, slavery. Slaves toiled without pay while suffering through violence and oppression. Slave owners were not bringing much, if any, of their own free-market value (products or services they created)
- If exploitative labor got completely outlawed by the government, then slavery in the U.S. would have become cost-prohibitive.
- The masses must first clearly recognize that they are victims of theft, that the unethical amongst the economic elite use tools (in this case, slavery) to rig the system against them
- Only with that recognition can the public start to fight back against crony capitalists and eradicate the rigged layer of the economy.
The Monetary Costs of the Slave Trade
According to Statista, the U.S. had 700,000 slaves in 1790, which equated to about 18% of the total population. In 1860, the final census was taken before the American Civil War and the emancipation proclamation revealed that the number of slaves had jumped to 4,000,000. There were only about 0.5 million, or 500,000, free African Americans in all of the US.
Slave trade, in a word, boomed. History published a retrospective with the subheading, “Slavery was so profitable, it sprouted more millionaires per capita in the Mississippi River Valley than anywhere in the nation.” Slavery served as the economic engine of the South.
It did come with considerable monetary costs, though.
One cost came from the ‘reward’ or payment given to the tribes who captured and sold the members of other tribes. Slave traders fueled at least some of the inter-tribal violence.
Shipping the countless slaves proved to be another major cost. Rations, fees for the slave traders, loss of life, and so on. Fettered and crammed, many slaves perished long before they even made it to an auction center.
The University of Houston’s Digital History website claims, “The death rate on these slave ships was very high—reaching 25 percent in the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries and remaining around ten percent in the nineteenth century—as a result of malnutrition and such diseases as dysentery, measles, scurvy, and smallpox…On shipboard, many slaves mutinied, attempted suicide, jumped overboard, or refused to eat. The most recent estimate suggests that there was a revolt on one in every ten voyages across the Atlantic. To prevent their captives from starving themselves, slavers sometimes smashed out their teeth and fed them by force. Some captains actually cut off the arms and legs of a few kidnapped Africans.”
To financially justify the great costs of the slave industry, slave owners needed to be making major profits. That was just more reason for them to pay nothing to their slaves.
Violence Encouraged in the White Laborer
But slave owners also feared revolt by the working class. White laborers understandably had their grievances as they witnessed the rich getting richer, including those who were ethically profiting. Slave owners recognized that they could not handle attacks from slaves and the working class. Thus they kept the poor working-class pacified just enough to prevent organized, widespread revolution.
In a retrospective on the slave system, The Atlantic published the following: “…it was the very existence of enforcement work in the slave system that militated against coalition-building. Slave-driving and overseeing were the only kind of labor in the slave system that could not be entrusted to blacks and thus was guaranteed to poor whites. Revolution sounds nice until you consider that it meant poor whites sacrificing the only exclusive means they had for feeding and sheltering their own families.”
Beyond the financial ‘opportunities’ slave owners generated for poor white laborers, slave-driving had deep psychological effects, as well. The esteemed civil rights activist and sociologist W.E. Dubois wrote, in Black Reconstruction in America 1860-1880, “…above and beyond this, [slavery] fed his vanity because it associated him with the masters. Slavery bred in the poor white a dislike of Negro toil of all sorts. He never regarded himself as a laborer, or as part of any labor movement. If he had any ambition at all it was to become a planter and to own ‘niggers.’ To these Negroes he transferred all the dislike and hatred which he had for the whole slave system. The result was that the system was held stable and intact by the poor white.”
Slave owners used poor white laborers as pawns, essentially, diverting their attention away from how they were getting used, abused, and ripped off. They were conditioned to loathe the slaves, getting blood on their sweaty hands while keeping their bosses’ (slave owners) hands unworked and pockets bursting.
By dividing the public (the slaves and the white laborers) slavery remained strong and profitable, a large stain in our history. In 2020, the economic elites have the political right and left hate each other, in order to divide the population and protect the rigged economy. The biggest risk is the left/right joining together. Seeing that the economic elites are a problem.
Congress, the Constitution, and Compromises
The framers of the Constitution wanted to create a strong central government, but they could not get all states to agree on the matter of slavery. They reckoned the delegates of Georgia and the Carolinas would refuse to join the Union if the slave trade were outlawed. As we now know, the framers compromised and then some, intentionally or inadvertently establishing constitutional laws that benefited/protected slavery.
To cite Digital History again, “the notorious Three-fifths clause—which counted three-fifths of the slave population in apportioning—gave the South extra representation in the House and extra votes in the Electoral College. The Constitution also prohibited Congress from outlawing the Atlantic slave trade for twenty years. A fugitive slave clause required the return of runaway slaves to their owners. The Constitution gave the federal government the power to put down domestic rebellions, including slave insurrections.”
As mentioned earlier, slavery served as the economic engine of the South. And even when the slave trade got outlawed, the individuals imported had started reproducing. This created more and more free labor with none of the losses and risks of importing slaves from other countries. The slave owners stood to make ungodly and unethical profits, as long as they received support from those who were allowed to vote (white males, i.e. the rich and the laborer-pawns) and their representatives in government.
Associate Professor of Civil War studies at Virginia Tech Paul Quigley writes, “Even after Jacksonian democracy had liberalised Southern politics, Southern slave-holders maintained an impressive hold on political power, providing the leadership of both the Democrats and the Whigs. During the 1850s every single Southern state governor was a slave-holder. In states like Alabama, North Carolina, and South Carolina over half were planters owning twenty or more slaves.”
Protecting slavery was in the interests of many of those holding political power.
Eliminate the Rigged Layer, Mitigate Violence
Without the ability to unethically boost profits via slavery, much of the violence could have been prevented. Especially if intervention against slave trading occurred earlier. The high risk and costs of paying tribes and shipping slaves would have deterred many if they were legally bound to pay slaves wages. If their ability to financially benefit from slavery went away, then they likely would have stopped pursuing it.
Imagine a past where citizens had access to the Zero Theft Movement and its advanced technology. It might look something like this:
- The amount stolen from each enslaved person and white workers would be economically modeled by the ethical elite/citizen investigators by authoring problem proposals.
- An approximation of the amount stolen will converge on a close-to-exact number over time, through voting on the Zero Theft Movement’s software platform.
- The ZTM process outputs the Total Theft Report. That report would include:
- The amount stolen from enslaved, and white workers
- Amount plantations with slavery are stealing from plantations without slavery
- The list of each plantation owner and their family. And how much wealth they got from stealing (separate from how much ethical wealth they would have gotten if they had run their plantations at market rates without slavery). Two financial numbers are generated: the stolen amount (unethical profit) and the non-stolen amount (ethical profit).
- They could have been circulated online or printed out on paper and taken to church every Sunday.
- There is a natural behavior for the more wealthy in society to be viewed as a notch above those less wealthy. This is attempted by premium clothing and other factors. Back in the day, the wealthy slave plantation owners go to church and take the position of the best of society. If the ZTM reports were not provided.
- With the ZTM reports, they could be handed out to everyone walking into church.
- Disgrace would be viewed by everyone in the church of the slavery driven plantation owners.
- Wealthy successful non-slavery plantation owners can be well regarded. As they should.
- The massive disgrace would be the pressure that ZTM’s software unique creates to cause extreme pressure to remove the theft by the rigged economy economic elites.
Learning from History
In 2020 and beyond, we need to focus on eradicating the rigged layer of the economy while protecting ethical profits and businesses. An ethical economy refers to companies and individuals who create and offer products and services in a fully free market, so prices remain competitive and fair for the public.
This is what the Zero Theft philosophy and community helps you achieve.
By outlawing practices that create the rigged layer, we will be left with a safe, strong, and ethical economy.
The Zero Theft Movement does not have any interest in partisan politics/competition or attacking/defending one side. We seek to eradicate theft from the U.S economy. In other words, how the wealthy and powerful rig the system to steal money from us, the everyday citizen. We need to collectively fight against crony capitalism in order for us to all profit from an ethical economy.
Terms like ‘steal,’ ‘theft,’ and ‘crime’ will frequently appear throughout the book. Zero Theft will NOT adhere strictly to the legal definitions of these terms (since congress sells out). We have broadly and openly defined terms like ‘steal’ and ‘theft’ to refer to the rigged economy and other debated unethical acts that can cause citizens to lose out on money they deserve to keep.