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View Diary: Biggest Blunders in Technology History (76 comments)

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  •  Not necessarily the case. (2+ / 0-)
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    Alhambra, koNko

    Slavery in the Roman Empire did not arise from overpopulation or lack of resources - it was an ancestral tradition common to ancient conquest, and it just so happened that they were incredibly successful at conquering people so they ended up with a lot more slaves than anyone had ever had before.  By Byzantine times, they were actually swimming in material riches - prosperous on a level that their republican ancestors couldn't have imagined - but people's lives were cruelly and pettily oppressed, and technology never had a chance to do anything but build more magnificent temples and palaces.

    Then there was the antebellum South: Hardly a place one could claim was suffering from overpopulation or lack of material wealth.  Slavery occurred simply as a matter of convenience - there was a lot of hard farming to do, not enough poor white people to do it, and Africans were being sold by the hundreds, so that's how it happened.

    When you change the subject to low-wage labor, overpopulation doesn't explain that either: The cities of medieval Germany were teeming with people, but they had formed trade guilds and civic organizations that protected their interests.  So it's very much a matter of social choice rather than inherent limits.  

    Democracy is a habit, not a circumstance.

    by Troubadour on Mon Apr 22, 2013 at 08:52:48 PM PDT

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