Re: poly: economics of morality

From: Damien R. Sullivan <>
Date: Tue Feb 24 1998 - 22:28:00 PST

On Feb 24, 9:56pm, "Peter C. McCluskey" wrote:

> >> I think Jeff Hummel makes a convincing argument in Emancipating Slaves,
> >>Enslaving Free Men that slavery was unsustainable because of the
> >>increasing difficulty of recapturing runaway slaves. It sure looks

> northern whites, but I still don't see how the north's desire to fight
> was rational.

I can't give any useful references, but in my "intro social science"
class here we read a paper analyzing the costs of and gains from slaves,
which concluded that they would probably have been profitable until the
invention of the mechanized cotton picker in the 1930s. Which might not
have been invented so soon if slavery had continued. Just to throw out
rumor of data.

But I've always thought the Civil War wasn't fought to end slavery. The
North went to war to keep the South from seceding from the Union. "A
house divided cannot stand". The South had seceded at least partly
because of concern over slavery (weighing that against the tariff issue
would exceed my knowledge) and I don't know how much soldiers may have
thought they were fighting to end slavery, but the core conflict was
more like the Russians invading Chechnya recently, or China harassing
Taiwan. Rational behavior for those in charge of the seceded-from

Remember, the Emancipation Proclamation declared free all the slaves not
under Union control. If your state hadn't seceded, or the area had been
recaptured, you stayed a slave.

-xx- GSV Cynical Optimist X-)

I'll dance upon your grave a twelvemonth and a day
I'll do as much for you, as any maiden may.
I'll make you rue the very day you were born
I'm a bonnie brown girl...
Received on Wed Feb 25 06:29:45 1998

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