Time Magazine: Man of the Millennium

Warrl kyree Tale'sedrin postmaster at 127.0.0.1
Sat Sep 26 21:49:08 EST 1998


Peter da Silva wrote in alt.memetics:

>Slaves were mostly used in labor-intensive cash crops. Cotton is the
>obvious one, but there's plenty of others. And I've heard it argued that
>without the mechanical methods of harvesting and processing cotton that
>were one of the products of the industrial revolution the south would
>still be effectively a slave society.

The end of slavery begins with the invention of an ox-yoke (or the
equivalent for whatever the available non-human beast of burden is).

However, it sometimes takes a long time for the end of slavery to
finish.

The reason the ox-yoke marks the beginning of the end of slavery is
because without this invention, the load-pulling ability of a beast of
burden (in relation to the cost of its food) is the same as that of a
slave.  Any greater load tends to choke the beast.

But the ox-yoke VASTLY increases the pulling capacity of the ox, while
only slightly increasing the load-pulling capacity of the human.

All of a sudden, the use of humans as beasts of burden is horribly
inefficient.  And every other use of slaves that is economically
productive enough to support a slaveholding culture, draws on the
slaves' brains.  Slaves aren't stupid - unless being stupid is the
smart thing for them to do.  And slaves who think are extremely
dangerous.

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