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Not Made by Slaves: Ethical Capitalism in the Age of Abolition
Title: Not Made by Slaves: Ethical Capitalism in the Age of Abolition
Authors: Bronwen Everill
Material Type: printed text
Publisher: Cambridge : Harvard University Press, 2020
ISBN (or other code): 978-0-674-24098-8
Languages: English
Class number: 04.3.2 (History of the African diaspora)
Keywords: History ; History of Africa ; History of the African diaspora ; African diaspora ; 19th century ; Antislavery movements ; Atlantic Ocean Region ; Business ethics ; Capitalism ; Commerce History ; Consumption (Economics) ; Moral and ethical aspects History ; Social responsibility of business
Abstract: "East India Sugar Not Made By Slaves"-with these words on a sugar bowl, consumers of the early nineteenth century declared their power to change the global economy. Bronwen Everill examines how abolitionists in the Atlantic world shaped emerging ideas of ethical commerce to fight the system of plantation slavery that had become an engine of modern capitalism. How did consumers define ethical commerce? How did producers create markets for their products? Everill focuses on the everyday economy of the Atlantic world rather than on the more familiar boycott movements against slave-produced goods. Different approaches to making money in ethical commerce-through commercial agriculture, government contracts, international trade, and money management-shaped the relationship between production, consumption, and morality in ways that determined how slavery and freedom came to be defined in the market economy. Companies such as Macaulay & Babington in Sierra Leone, Roberts & Colson in Liberia, and Forster & Smith in the Gambia used commercial networks and government subsidies to make "legitimate" commerce pay. Ethical commerce was also promoted by former slaves in such organizations as the Colored Free Produce Society, which promoted the idea that consumers bore responsibility for the plight of the slave and could change their buying behavior. This book illuminates global consumer society and industrial capitalism at the turn of the nineteenth century, as well as underscores the roles of slavery and antislavery movements in the development of international capitalism. It also reminds us that concerns over fair trade and labor conditions remain relevant today.


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