Against the Grain

Slavery, Capitalism, and the Power to Commodify

What role did slavery play in the story of U.S. capitalism? Does the fact that slavery wasn’t rooted in wage labor mean that it wasn’t a form of capitalist practice? Caitlin Rosenthal offers a definition of capitalism and shares her understanding of how commodification, and the power to impose it, operated under slavery.

Caitlin Rosenthal, Accounting for Slavery: Masters and Management Harvard University Press, 2019 (paper)

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