The Relationship Between Capitalism, Slavery, Colonialism And Apartheid

1329 words - 6 pages

The relationship between the growth of capitalism and slave labour is historically connected. Nevertheless, slavery does fundamentally differ from capitalism; in that capitalism requires free or cheap labour, where as slavery requires forced labour. However, slavery cannot be conceptually separated from the development of capitalism.
Hence, slavery was the foundation of colonial trade amongst the triangular trade region, as well as the foundation for colonization in the islands (Robinson; 1984: 154). As slaves were legal property and a part of capital. They were bought, sold and sometimes killed, thus they became a means of production and were reduced to a commodity owned by slave owners (Ritzer; 2002:51/53).
The relationship between slavery and capitalism can be seen in the context of the creation of the America’s. African and Afro-American slaves were vital for the development of the America’s. An example of this is after the American civil war, even though the North had fought to abolish slavery. Northern capitalism was connected to slavery and allowed it to exist. As the northern bourgeoisie bought molasses which was produced by slave labour, they had lent money to Southern plantation owners who owned slave labour; they shipped off slaved produced cotton to Britain from their northern ports. Thereby financing the slave trade (Saunders; 1988).
Not only was slavery connected to the growth of capitalism in America but also Britain. As Britain’s industrial capitalism was mainly based upon slavery. The British bourgeoisie became rich from the sugar trading in England which was rooted in slavery. Therefore, it is evident that capitalism evolved in the concrete and slavery was central to the development of the capitalist system globally.
Looking at the African continent, it is apparent that Africa and South Africa have a society with a history of colonization. This is due to the Scramble of Africa that was a rapid period of colonization of the African continent by European powers. As an attempt by European powers to gain natural resources, land and power. Under the guise of civilizing and christianizing “heathens” which were Africans; who were seen as uncivilized barbarians compared to the Europeans. The relationship between Africa and Europe was one of trade originally. However, Europeans focused mainly on slavery, resulting in the African Diaspora. Focusing specifically on South Africa’s history of colonization that began in 1652 in the Cape. Slavery was implemented when negotiations broke down between Van Riebeeck and the locals. (sahistory; 2012). South Africa’s history of colonization led to a period of structural racial discrimination known as Segregation and developed into Apartheid in a capitalist economy.
The relationship between capitalism and Apartheid in South Africa according to Liberal Pluralists is one of incompatibility. As racism and capitalism is incompatible; as it is believed to be the result of irrational attitudes and...

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