Thursday, March 18, 2004

From Acton:

Ending the ‘Slavocracy’

by Anthony B. Bradley

Slavery is alive and well today. Recent estimates put the number of people in bondage at 27 million worldwide. The abolition of modern day slavery is an urgent matter; in the words of Pope John Paul II, slavery “constitutes a shocking offence against human dignity and a grave violation of fundamental human rights.”

Bales describes the twofold threat that the growing middle class -- thanks in part to the prosperity fostered by American businesses’ moving to India -- poses to the current “slavocracy.” First, India’s middle class workers, the beneficiaries of the country’s new industries and services, are buying up farmland as it becomes available. India’s middle-class landowners are more likely to use modern farming techniques to increase production and lower labor costs, reducing the demand for slaves. The more Indian agriculture is mechanized, the less profit the landlords will make from the use of an outmoded system like bonded labor. The dream of peasant farmers everywhere in India is a mechanized future. A farm with slaves simply cannot compete with a mechanized one.
The bourgeoisie are destroying an ancient culture. Good.

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