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Baxter Praises Slavery

In the sci-fi novel Ring, Stephen Baxter wrote (my emphasis):

Lieserl had learned about the Qax. The Qax had originated as clusters of turbulent cells in the seas of a young planet. Because there were so few of them the Qax weren't naturally warlike -- individual life was far too precious to them. They were natural traders; the Qax worked with each other like independent corporations, in perfect competition. They had occupied Earth simply because it was so easy -- because they could. The only law governing the squabbling junior races of the Galaxy was, Lieserl realized, the iron rule of economics. The Qax enslaved mankind simply because it was an economically valid proposition. They had to learn the techniques of oppression from humans themselves. Fortunately for the Qax, human history wasn't short of object lessons.

This is explicitly claiming that slavery is economically beneficial, just like the 1619 project claims. There's something awful about how many people are fans of slavery. Immoral but practical!? No, it's immoral and impractical. Free trade is better at creating wealth. These people never read Mises or offer actual economic arguments.

People produce more (and do better thinking, which leads to e.g. scientific progress) when they aren't slaves or oppressed. And free trade avoids wasting resources on task masters, whips, chains, lasting resentment decades later, etc.

Baxter, by contrast, thinks that slavery is so great that it's worth learning how to oppress people in order to enslave them, even though all you knew how to do before was trade, and you'd already gotten very rich and powerful by trade.

BTW, in the story, the Qax ended up much worse off as a result of oppressing humanity. Lieserl is reviewing history and knows that outcome. Baxter's own story is a counter-example to his claim.

PS I liked the book. This was just one minor part.

Elliot Temple on August 24, 2020

Messages (1)

>There's something awful about how many people are fans of slavery.

It seems like you're equivocating believing (mistakenly) that slavery has economical benefits for 1 group with being a fan of slavery.

If I were next in line to the throne, I could believe that murdering my father would be the *quickest* way to the throne but that does not entail that I am a fan of murder.

Periergo at 9:01 PM on August 24, 2020 | #17612 | reply | quote

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