The Connection between Slavery, Growth of Capitalism, and Colonization

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Robinson (1984) affirms that there exists a close relationship between the growth of capitalism and slavery. Slaves were the property of slave owners; slaves were dehumanised because they were commodities that were sold and they represented unfree labour (Robinson, 1984). According to Marx (1984, 45), the profits made by the slaves were prime to the primitive accumulation which then led to the growth of manufacturing and industrial capitalism. The value created by slave labour was appropriated by the metropole, and this created immeasurable disparities of wealthy between the colonies and the metropole, both historical wealth and contemporary wealth (Robinson, 1984). For example, the raw material used in production of textiles, which led the Industrial Revolution in Britain, was slave-produced. Robinson (1984:46) argues that the economic footing of slave labour and slavery formed the economic basis of the political ideologies that emerged from the French Revolution, i.e. liberty, equality and fraternity – thus the economy and politics are inseparable. One may thus argue that when colonialism (politics) was established, then capitalism (economy) was expanded, for example, the more colonies Britain had, the more capitalism grew. Slavery, says W.E.B du Bois, was a significant subsystem of capitalism and that at the centre of the economics of slavery was the idea of the racial superiority of non-black people (Robinson, 1984: 61). The underlying principle for the development of capitalism was slavery and it was thus not coincidental (Robinson, 1984: 47).
Furthermore, the relationship between slave labour and the growth of capitalism resulted in the colonial conquest of Africa by Europe. South Africa is a geological area that was drast...

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...k force was not based on any biological facet or on a dual economy by rather by contrived factors such as slavery and colonialism. It is evident that the inequalities in capitalism between the racial groups is based is due to slavery and colonialism.

Works Cited

Alexander, N, (2002) “’Race’ and class in South Africa historiography: An overview”, An ordinary country, Scottvile: University of Natal Press.
Independent Online SA, (2012) “Lonmin massacre: a timeline”, 17 August [online] available at (Accessed: 25 April 2014).
South African History Online, (2005) “History of slavery and early colonisation”, 31 January [online] available at (Accessed 07 March 2012).
Robinson C.J. (1984) “Black Marxism: The Making of the Black Radical Tradition”, London: Zed Books.
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