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Re: [Gnu-arch-users] OT: trained dependency

From: Talli Somekh
Subject: Re: [Gnu-arch-users] OT: trained dependency
Date: Wed, 3 Nov 2004 04:21:24 -0500

On Nov 2, 2004, at 9:29 PM, Zenaan Harkness wrote:
I wrote in at least two other places/ emails, the _free_ population,
which is what I meant. I also wrote that the unfree population
(primarily the black slaves) were at a literacy rate in the order of 80%
(but the timing for this stat might be more recent - I don't remember

i think that would probably be an impossible number considering it was illegal or horribly discouraged to educate a slave in any manner.

in fact (and i say this most regrettably especially given what i consider a most unfavorable outcome in this election), i wouldn't be surprised if the entire literacy level of the United States were not 80% /today/.

So, I should have written (for the third time) "the _free_
population". Obviously slaves wouldn't have felt at "the height of
freedom" :)

i think that would be wrong as well. for the most part, the anti-bellum (before the Civil War) period was either industrial in the North (where labor conditions were horrid including a total disregard for child labor) or agricultural in the South (where labor existed in the form of both slave and non-slave labor.) the non-slave labor clearly was not of African descent, but in many ways was just as, if not more, poor than any slave.

the fact that they were considered citizens of the state did not mean that they were worth more in terms of a capital expense. as a result, the cost of a single slaves might have outweighed the life of a nonslave. in other words, keeping a slave fed would have a better return on investment than keeping a nonslave fed.

so, in effect, the marginal worth of a slave may very well have been /greater/ than the marginal cost of a nonslave (Stephen Turnbull, feel free to critique me on this.)

either way, i would recommend reading Twain's Huck Finn to get a better sense of what the society was like.

after the Civil War, though, during Reconstruction (the period in which the North did it's best to rebuild the South - or perhaps just at it's political and economic bitch for a good while) i can't possibly believe the situation was any better. the entire country was overextended economically. millions of people were killed and/or displaced. cities were completely razed. pretty much what one would expect the aftermath of a civil war might seem like.

so i think that either the source you're referencing is wrong or the manner in which you are referencing the source is wrong. that's a pretty fantastical statistic.

(but then i'm a bit in the tank this eve, and i may have misread the whole thread. ah... me.)


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