What Are the Pros and Cons of Slavery?


Quick Answer

The pros of slavery apply entirely to the owners and the cons entirely to those who are owned. For owners, slaves have historically provided a free and readily available labor force for any number of big or small projects. As for the slaves, they are forced to forfeit their freedom, the right to the fruits of their own labors, and often their identities and family lives as well.

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Full Answer

Throughout history, slaves have provided their owners with a pool of labor that can be exploited without cost. In ancient Rome, large populations of war prisoners became slaves who were put to work building enormous public works projects or as domestic servants. In the Americas, slaves gave farmers a reservoir of plantation workers who harvested labor-intensive crops such as sugar cane and cotton. This allowed owners to maximize their profits without dealing with the cost, inconvenience and inconsistencies involved with other labors sources, according to PBS.org.

For the slaves, however, there are seldom any pros. In most cases, slaves had no say in what they did. Their physical well-being was left to their owners and, in many cases, owners reserved the legal right to kill or abuse them. In the pre-Civil War United States, slaves were considered property, or chattel, not human beings. This frequently resulted in split and shattered families and individuals who possessed no legal identity of their own. Slavery became a racial and trans-generational condition, meaning that people were slaves by virtue of the fact that their parents were slaves. This was an utterly racist, complete and pitiless brand of slavery that, according to FightSlaveryNow.org, continued into the 21st century, particularly in some parts of Africa.

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