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The Optimal Utilization of Slaves

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  • Canarella, Giorgio
  • Tomaske, John A.

Abstract

A Major theme in the historiography of American slavery is the analysis of the slave plantation as a capitalist market oriented enterprise. Much of the controversy surrounding the work of such scholars as Stanley Elkins, Kenneth Stampp and Eugene Genovese stems from differing views of the interaction of commercial capitalism with the ancient institution of slavery. A recurrent topic in this literature is the impact of the profit motive and competitive market conditions on the relationship between master and slave. A major concern is the extent these capitalist incentives may have motivated the master to either brutalize or ameliorate the conditions of the slave's existence.We wish to thank the following who read earlier drafts of this paper and made useful suggestions and criticisms: Professors Jerry Fastrup, George Jensen, Roger Ransom, Richard Roseman, and an anonymous referee. This study is part of a larger project, “The Optimal Accumulation and Utilization of Slaves†(forthcoming), which extends both static and dynamic neoclassical models of the firm to cases involving slavery.

Suggested Citation

  • Canarella, Giorgio & Tomaske, John A., 1975. "The Optimal Utilization of Slaves," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 35(3), pages 621-629, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:cup:jechis:v:35:y:1975:i:03:p:621-629_07
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    Cited by:

    1. Brezis, Elise S. & Kim, Heeho, 2009. "Was the Korean slave market efficient?," MPRA Paper 14735, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Kauffman, Kyle D. & Cribari-Neto, Francisco, 1995. "To pay or not to pay: Positive incentives as a calibrating device in the white indenture system," The Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 35(3), pages 257-269.
    3. Versiani, Flávio Rabelo, 1994. "Brazilian slavery: toward an economic analysis," Revista Brasileira de Economia - RBE, EPGE Brazilian School of Economics and Finance - FGV EPGE (Brazil), vol. 48(4), October.
    4. Michael Suk-Young Chwe, 1990. "Violence in Incentives: Pain in a Principal-Agent Model," Discussion Papers 871, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.

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