Sunday, February 25, 2007

Trade is not the only or best tool to fight Slavery


Ending Slavery at its Roots

Susan Ariel Aaronson

Two hundred years ago, both the United States and Great Britain banned trade in slaves. But the 1807 ban did not end slavery. Brits and Americans alike were complicit in an economy build on slaves. America’s cotton fueled Britain’s textile mills. America

The working class in both countries feared competition from slave labor, and dismissed the links between the slaves that produced the cotton and wage slaves that made the cloth. The economic interdependence was broken only by the Civil War.

Many of us look back on that history with revulsion; yet modern Americans are also complicit in slavery. We save for retirement or college by investing in companies that often without intent, perpetuate slavery. And we purchase a wide range of goods from chocolate to cars that include components made by forced and even slave labor. For example, in November 2006, Bloomberg News reported that many companies, includin