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Encyclopedia > Unfree labour

Unfree labour is a generic or collective term for those work relations, especially in modern or early modern history, in which people are employed against their will by the threat of destitution, detention, violence (including death), or other extreme hardship to themselves, or to members of their families. Many of these forms of work may be covered by the term forced labour, although this tends to imply forms based on violence. Unfree labour includes all forms of slavery. (Although serfdom is technically a form of unfree labour, the term "serf" is usually used only in relation to pre-modern societies, under feudal political systems.) Modern history describes the history of the Modern Times, the era after the Middle Ages. ... The early modern period is a term initially used by historians to refer mainly to the post Late Middle Ages period in Western Europe (Early modern Europe), its first colonies marked by the rise of strong centralized governments and the beginnings of recognizable nation states that are the direct antecedents... Slave redirects here. ... “Serf” redirects here. ... Feudalism comes from the Late Latin word feudum, itself borrowed from a Germanic root *fehu, a commonly used term in the Middle Ages which means fief, or land held under certain obligations by feodati. ...

Contents

Payment for unfree labour

Convict labourers in Australia in the early 19th century.
Convict labourers in Australia in the early 19th century.

If payment occurs, it may be in one or more of the following forms: it does not exceed subsistence or barely exceeds it; is in goods which are not desirable and/or cannot be exchanged or are difficult to exchange; or the payment wholly or mostly consists of cancellation of a debt or liability that was itself coerced, or belongs to someone else. Unfree labour is often more easily instituted and enforced on migrant workers, who have travelled far from their homelands and who are easily identified because of their physical, ethnic, or cultural differences from the general population, since they are unable or unlikely to report their conditions to the authorities. Image File history File links A11602. ... Image File history File links A11602. ... The following is a list of subsistence techniques: Hunting and Gathering, also known as Foraging freeganism involves gathering of discarded food in the context of an urban environment gleaning involves the gathering of food that traditional farmers have left behind in their fields Cultivation Horticulture - plant cultivation, based on the...


According to the labour theory of value (as used by the classical economists), under capitalism, workers never keep all of the wealth they create, as some of it goes to the profit of capitalists. By contrast, according to the subjective theory of value (as used by neoclassical economists), the wages offered necessarily represent the marginal wealth generated by the labour, and any profit (or loss) is due to other inputs provided, such as arbitrage, time value of money, or risk. It is argued by supporters of certain theories of distributive justice that any occasion on which a worker is able to turn down employment and look elsewhere is "free labour". The labor theory of value (LTV) is a theory in economics and political economy concerning a market-oriented society: the theory equates the value of an exchangeable good or service (i. ... Classical economics is widely regarded as the first modern school of economic thought. ... For other uses, see Capitalism (disambiguation). ... This article or section does not cite any references or sources. ... In economics, a capitalist is someone who owns capital, presumably within the economic system of capitalism. ... Economic subjectivism is the theory that value is a feature of the appraiser and not of the thing being valued. ... Neoclassical economics refers to a general approach (a metatheory) to economics based on supply and demand which depends on individuals (or any economic agent) operating rationally, each seeking to maximize their individual utility or profit by making choices based on available information. ... In economics, marginal utility is the additional utility (satisfaction or benefit) that a consumer derives from an additional unit of a commodity or service. ... In economics and finance, arbitrage is the practice of taking advantage of a price differential between two or more markets: a combination of matching deals are struck that capitalize upon the imbalance, the profit being the difference between the market prices. ... For other senses of this word, see interest (disambiguation). ... Distributive justice - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia /**/ @import /skins-1. ...


Unfree vs. free labour

By contrast, "free labour" describes a situation which a worker is able to leave at any time, if he or she sees fit. In practice, however, many nominally free labourers, in some historical periods and/or countries, face significant constraints on their ability to leave their jobs, and may not receive payment which is above the level of subsistence. For these reasons, some scholars prefer to see "free labour" and "unfree labour" as extreme points on a continuum, rather than being sharply distinct entities. Because of this, some people refer to the condition of the working class as "wage slavery". Others may feel that such terms trivialise the experiences of real slaves. Look up continuum in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... The term working class is used to denote a social class. ... Wage slavery is a term used to refer to a condition in which a person chooses a job but only within a coerced set of choices (e. ...


Forms of unfree labour

Slavery

Main article: Slavery

The archetypal and best-known form of unfree labour is chattel slavery, in which individual workers are legally owned throughout their lives, and may be bought, sold or otherwise exchanged by owners, while never or rarely receiving any personal benefit from their labour. Slavery was common in many ancient societies, including ancient Greece, ancient Rome, ancient Israel, ancient China, as well as many societies in Africa and the Americas. Being sold into slavery was a common fate of populations conquered in wars. Perhaps the most prominent example of chattel slavery was the enslavement of many millions of black people in Africa, as well as their enforced transplantation to the Americas, Asia or Europe where their status as slaves was usually inherited by their descendants. Slave redirects here. ... For other uses, see Archetype (disambiguation). ... Slave redirects here. ... Ancient Greece is a period in Greek history that lasted for around nine hundred years. ... Ancient Rome was a civilization that grew from a small agricultural community founded on the Italian Peninsula circa the 9th century BC to a massive empire straddling the Mediterranean Sea. ... The Kingdom of Israel (Hebrew מַלְכוּת יִשְׂרָאֵל, Standard Hebrew Malḫut Yisraʾel, Tiberian Hebrew Malḵûṯ Yiśrāʾēl) according to the Bible, was the nation... China is the worlds oldest continuous major civilization, with written records dating back about 3,500 years and with 5,000 years being commonly used by Chinese as the age of their civilization. ... For other uses of War, see War (disambiguation). ... Though most indigenous Africans possess relatively dark skin, they exhibit much variation in physical appearance. ...


The term slavery is often applied to situations which do not meet the above definitions, but which are other, closely-related forms of unfree labour, such as debt slavery or debt-bondage (although not all repayment of debts through labour constitutes unfree labour), or the work of Indigenous Australians in northern Australia on sheep or cattle stations (ranches), from the mid-19th to the mid-20th century. In the latter case, workers were rarely or never paid, and were restricted by regulations and/or police intervention to regions around their places of work. Debt bondage or bonded labor is a means of paying off a familys loans via the labour of family members or heirs. ... Languages Several hundred indigenous Australian languages (many extinct or nearly so), Australian English, Australian Aboriginal English, Torres Strait Creole, Kriol Religions Primarily Christian, with minorities of other religions including various forms of Traditional belief systems based around the Dreamtime Related ethnic groups see List of Indigenous Australian group names Indigenous... The term northern Australia is generally considered to include the Australian states and territories of Queensland and the Northern Territory. ... This article is about a type of land use and method of raising livestock. ...


According to Kevin Bales, in Disposable People: New Slavery in the Global Economy (1999), there are now an estimated 27 Million slaves in the world. Dr. Kevin Bales is the worlds leading expert on modern slavery and President of Free the Slaves, the US Sister organization of Anti-Slavery International (the world’s oldest human rights organization). ...


Bonded labour

See also: Black Codes in the USA

A more common form in modern society is indenture, or bonded labour, under which workers sign contracts to work for a specific period of time, for which they are paid only with accommodation and sustenance, or these essentials in addition to limited benefits such as cancellation of a debt, or transportation to a desired country. (Debt bondage or debt slavery is a well-known form of indenture; this is sometimes known as peonage in the USA. However, the word peon is used more generally in Latin American history, and may in some cases imply free labour.) In some cases, indentured workers may receive small cash payments or other benefits. Indenture is still common in developing countries and was perhaps the dominant formal and official form of labour in early modern colonial societies, during the 17th century and 18th century. However, it should be stressed that indenture is often only a formal legal category, and in practice employers sometimes find it difficult or impossible to coerce indentured workers, unless the letter of the law is reinforced by law enforcement systems, threats by crime syndicates (snakeheads) that supply workers (usually illegal aliens), and/or by full acceptance by workers, as a traditional practice. There are also some traditional forms of bonded labour such as the Chukri System in India and Bangladesh that are illegal, yet nonetheless still practised widely. The Black Codes were laws passed on the state and local level in the United States to restrict the civil rights and civil liberties of Black People, particularly former slaves. ... An indentured servant (also called a bonded laborer) is a labourer unde from the employer in exchange for an extension to the period of their indenture, which could thereby continue indefinitely. ... Debt bondage or bonded labor is a means of paying off a familys loans via the labor of family members or heirs. ... Look up peon, peón in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Latin America consists of the countries of South America and some of North America (including Central America and some the islands of the Caribbean) whose inhabitants mostly speak Romance languages, although Native American languages are also spoken. ... A developing country is a country with low average income compared to the world average. ... This article is about a type of political territory. ... For the opening number of Fiddler on the Roof, see Tradition (song). ... The Chukri System, is a type of forced labour whereby a female is coereced into prostitution to pay off debts. ...


Penal labour

Main article: Penal labour
See also: Convictism in Australia and Devil's Island

Penal labour or penal servitude is a form of unfree labour. ... A studio photograph of Tasmanian convict Bill Thompson, showing the convict uniform and the use of leg irons. ... For other uses, see Devils Island. ...

Prison labour

Convict or prison labour is another classic form of unfree labour. The forced labour of convicts has often been regarded with lack of sympathy, because of the social stigma attached to people regarded as "common criminals". In some countries and historical periods, however, prison labour has been forced upon people who have been: victims of prejudice, convicted of political crimes, convicted of "victimless crimes", or people who committed theft or related offences because they lacked any other means of subsistence — categories of people who typically call for compassion. The British colonies in Australia between 1788 and 1868 are probably the best examples of convict labour, as described above: during that period, Australia received thousands of convict labourers, many of whom had received harsh sentences for minor misdemeanours in Britain or Ireland. Social stigma is severe social disapproval of personal characteristics or beliefs that are against cultural norms. ... It has been suggested that Idiot compassion be merged into this article or section. ... This article is about a type of political territory. ...


Labour camps

Prisoner labour at the construction of Belomorkanal, 1931-1933
Prisoner labour at the construction of Belomorkanal, 1931-1933
Main article: Labor camp
See also: The Holocaust, Japanese war crimes, Gulag, Forced labor of Germans in the Soviet Union, and Eisenhower and German POWs

Another historically significant example of forced labour was that of political prisoners, people from conquered or occupied countries, members of persecuted minorities, and prisoners of war, especially during the 20th century. The best-known example of this are the concentration camp system run by Nazi Germany in Europe during World War II, the Gulag camps run by the Soviet Union, and the forced labour used by the military of the Empire of Japan, especially during the Pacific War (such as the Death Railway). Less well known is the roughly 4,000,000 German POW's used as "reparations labor" by the Allies the for several years after the German surrender. China's Laogai ("labour reform") system is a current example. Prisoner labor at construction of Belomorkanal File links The following pages link to this file: Gulag White Sea-Baltic Canal Categories: Pre-1973 Soviet Union images ... Prisoner labor at construction of Belomorkanal File links The following pages link to this file: Gulag White Sea-Baltic Canal Categories: Pre-1973 Soviet Union images ... White Sea-Baltic Sea Canal (Russian: Belomorsko-Baltiyskiy Kanal (BBK)), opened on August 2, 1933 is a ship canal that joins the White Sea and the Baltic Sea near St. ... A labor camp is a simplified detention facility where inmates are engaged in penal labor. ... “Shoah” redirects here. ... Japanese war crimes occurred during the period of Japanese imperialism. ... Gulag ( , Russian: ) was the government body responsible for administering prison camps across the former Soviet Union. ... Not by Their Own Will. ... Allegations made by Canadian novelist James Bacque were that nearly one million German prisoners of war, that Dwight Eisenhower redesignated as Disarmed Enemy Forces in order to avoid having to obey the third Geneva Convention, died of starvation or exposure while held in post-war Western internment camps. ... A political prisoner is someone held in prison or otherwise detained, perhaps under house arrest, because their ideas or image are deemed by a government to either challenge or threaten the authority of the state. ... Geneva Convention definition A prisoner of war (POW) is a soldier, sailor, airman, or marine who is imprisoned by an enemy power during or immediately after an armed conflict. ... It has been suggested that Internment be merged into this article or section. ... Nazi Germany, or the Third Reich, commonly refers to Germany in the years 1933–1945, when it was under the firm control of the totalitarian and fascist ideology of the Nazi Party, with the Führer Adolf Hitler as dictator. ... For other uses, see Europe (disambiguation). ... Combatants Allied powers: China France Great Britain Soviet Union United States and others Axis powers: Germany Italy Japan and others Commanders Chiang Kai-shek Charles de Gaulle Winston Churchill Joseph Stalin Franklin Roosevelt Adolf Hitler Benito Mussolini Hideki Tōjō Casualties Military dead: 17,000,000 Civilian dead: 33,000... Gulag ( , Russian: ) was the government body responsible for administering prison camps across the former Soviet Union. ... Anthem Kimi ga Yo Imperial Reign Capital Tokyo Government Constitutional monarchy Emperor  - 1868–1912 Emperor Meiji  - 1912–1926 Emperor Taishō  - 1926–1989 Emperor Shōwa Prime Minister (many other Prime Ministers preceded the below list)  - 1916–1918 Count Masatake Terauchi  - 1937-1939, 1940-1941 Prince Fumimaro Konoe  - 1941–1944 Hideki... For other uses, see Pacific War (disambiguation). ... The Bridge over the river Kwai Map of the Death Railway The Death Railway (known also as Thai-Burma Railway or Burma Railway) was a railway built from Thailand to Burma (now Myanmar) by the Japanese during World War II to complete the route from Bangkok to Rangoon and support... This article is about the independent states that comprised the Allies. ... Map of laogai in China Laogai (Chinese: ; Pinyin: ), the abbreviation for Laodong Gaizao(勞動改造), which means reform through labor, is a slogan of the Chinese criminal justice system and has been used to refer to the use of prison labor in the Peoples Republic of China. ...


Truck system

Main article: Truck system

A truck system, in the specific sense in which the term is used by labour historians, refers to an unpopular or even exploitative form of payment associated with small, isolated and/or rural communities, in which workers or self-employed small producers are paid in either: goods, a form of payment known as truck wages, or; tokens, private currency or direct credit, to be used at a company store, owned by their employers. A specific kind of truck system, in which credit advances are made against future work is known in the U.S. as debt bondage. A truck system is an exploitative form of employment — or, more specifically, unfree labour — under which workers are: paid in a form of limited direct credit or tokens, which may only be used at a company store, owned by their employers, or; paid in unexchangeable goods and/or services. ... Labor history refers to the political, social and legal struggle, working people, in their collective demands for fairer and more humane treatment from their employers and the social law (reformist movements) or to the struggle to abolish all forms of exploitation (revolutionary movements). ... A self-employed person works for himself/herself instead of as an employee of another person or organization, drawing income from a trade or business. ... Payment in kind refers to payment for goods or services with a medium other than legal tender (anything can be used as money, but legal tender is what the State accepts for all debts). ... Scrip is any substitute for currency which is not legal tender, and is often a form of credit. ... Debt bondage or bonded labor is a means of paying off a familys loans via the labor of family members or heirs. ...


Many scholars have suggested that employers use such systems to exploit workers and/or indebt them. This could occur, for example, if employers were able to pay workers with goods which had a market value below the level of subsistence, or by selling items to workers at inflated prices. Others argue that truck wages, at least in some cases, were a convenient way for isolated communities to operate, when official currency was scarce. The following is a list of subsistence techniques: Hunting and Gathering, also known as Foraging freeganism involves gathering of discarded food in the context of an urban environment gleaning involves the gathering of food that traditional farmers have left behind in their fields Cultivation Horticulture - plant cultivation, based on the... For the concept in cosmology, see cosmic inflation. ...


By the early 20th century, truck systems were widely seen, in industrialised countries, as exploitative; perhaps the most well-known example of this view was a 1947 U.S. hit song "Sixteen Tons". Many governments around the world enacted legislation (often known as a Truck Act) to outlaw truck systems and require payment in cash. However, it is still common for employers to provide compensation, with the approval or requirement of the government, in non-cash benefits such as health care. A factory in Ilmenau (Germany) around 1860 Industrialisation (also spelled Industrialization) or an Industrial Revolution is a process of social and economic change whereby a human group is transformed from a pre-industrial society (an economy where the amount of capital accumulated per capita is low) to an industrial one... Motto: (Out Of Many, One) (traditional) In God We Trust (1956 to date) Anthem: The Star-Spangled Banner Capital Washington D.C. Largest city New York City None at federal level (English de facto) Government Federal constitutional republic  - President George Walker Bush (R)  - Vice President Dick Cheney (R) Independence from... Sixteen Tons is a song about the misery of coal mining, written in 1947 by U.S. country singer Merle Travis. ... Truck Acts is the name given to legislation that outlaws truck systems, which are also known as company store systems, or debt bondage. ...


Serfs

Serfs are sometimes referred to as unfree labourers, although they are generally not referenced with this term in academic journals. They meet the definition in that they were bound to the land and required permission to move. They usually fared far better than most other unfree labourers in that they had the exclusive use of some land and/or means of production, legal or strongly traditional human rights, economic security, and free time to a much greater extent than slaves, indenturees, and many wage labourers. In the Middle Ages, some serfs were able to escape to a city, beyond the reach of a feudal lord. Costumes of Slaves or Serfs, from the Sixth to the Twelfth Centuries, collected by H. de Vielcastel, from original Documents in the great Libraries of Europe. ... Means of production (abbreviated MoP; German: Produktionsmittel), also called means of labour are the materials, tools and other instruments used by workers to make products. ... The Middle Ages formed the middle period in a traditional schematic division of European history into three ages: the classical civilization of Antiquity, the Middle Ages, and modern times, beginning with the Renaissance. ...


Conscription

Main article: Conscription

Some governments have mandatory military service. While sometimes paid, conscripts are not free to decline enlistment and draft dodging or desertion are often met with severe punishment. Even in countries which prohibit other forms of unfree labour, conscription is generally justified as being necessary in the national interest. Military service in its simplest sense, is service by an individual or group in an army or other military organisation, whether as a chosen job or as a result of an involuntary draft (conscription). ... A draft dodger, or draft evader, is a person who avoids (dodges) the conscription policies of the nation in which he or she is a citizen or resident, by leaving the country or going into hiding. ... For other uses of Desertion, see Abandonment. ... Eugène Delacroixs Liberty Leading the People, symbolising French nationalism during the July Revolution 1830. ...


Trafficking

Trafficking is a term to define the recruiting, harbouring, obtaining and transportation of a person by use of force, fraud, or coercion for the purpose of subjecting them to involuntary acts, such as acts related to commercial sexual exploitation (including prostitution) or involuntary labour. The trafficking of human beings is the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of people for the purpose of exploitation. ... Whore redirects here. ...


The present situation

The International Labour Organization estimates that: The International Labour Organization (ILO) is a specialized agency of the United Nations that deals with labour issues. ...

  • At least 12.3 million people are victims of forced labour
  • more than 2.4 million have been trafficked
  • 9.8 million are exploited by private agents
  • 2.5 million are forced to work by the state or by rebel military groups

The profits from forced trafficked labour are estimated to be in excess of $30 billion.


References

  • George W. Hilton, The Truck System, including a History of the British Truck Acts, 1465-1960. Cambridge, UK: W. Heffer & Sons Ltd, 1960.
  • Robin Blackburn, The Overthrow of Colonial Slavery, 1776–1848. London: Verso, 1988.
  • Theodore W. Allen, The Invention of the White Race (2 vol.) New York: Verso Books.
    • Vol. I: Racial Oppression and Social Control, 1994.
    • Vol. II: The Origin of Racial Oppression in Anglo-America, 1997.
  • Tom Brass, Marcel van der Linden, and Jan Lucassen, Free and Unfree Labour. Amsterdam: International Institute for Social History, 1993.
  • Tom Brass, Towards a Comparative Political Economy of Unfree Labour: Case Studies and Debates, London: Frank Cass Publishers, 1999.
  • Tom Brass and Marcel Van Der Linden (eds.), Free and Unfree Labour: The Debate Continues (International and Comparative Social History, 5). New York: Peter Lang AG, 1997.
  • Robin Blackburn, The Making of New World Slavery From the Baroque to the Modern, 1492–1800, London: Verso, 1997.
  • Kevin Bales. Disposable People: New Slavery in the Global Economy. UC Berkeley Press, 1999
  • International Labour Office, A global alliance against forced labour, ILO, 2005

Robin Blackburn (born 1940) is a British socialist historian, a former editor of New Left Review, and author of a number of works on Marxism and the history of Slavery in the New World. ... Robin Blackburn (born 1940) is a British socialist historian, a former editor of New Left Review, and author of a number of works on Marxism and the history of Slavery in the New World. ...

See also

Look up forced labor in
Wiktionary, the free dictionary.

Wikipedia does not have an article with this exact name. ... Wiktionary (a portmanteau of wiki and dictionary) is a multilingual, Web-based project to create a free content dictionary, available in over 150 languages. ... Involuntary servitude is the condition of a person laboring to benefit another against his will due to coercive influence directed toward him. ... To say a man had been shanghaied in the late 19th century, did not mean he had undertaken upon a journey to Shanghai in China, although he might be at sea for as long as a journey to that seaport might require. ... The trafficking of human beings is the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of people for the purpose of exploitation. ... Wage slavery is a term used to refer to a condition in which a person chooses a job but only within a coerced set of choices (e. ... This article or section is in need of attention from an expert on the subject. ... Sexual slavery is a special case of slavery which includes various different practices: forced prostitution single-owner sexual slavery ritual slavery, sometimes associated with traditional religious practices slavery for primarily non-sexual purposes where sex is common or permissible In general, the nature of slavery means that the slave is...

External links


  Results from FactBites:
 
Unfree labour - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (1459 words)
Unfree labour is a generic or collective term for those work relations, especially in modern or early modern history, in which people are employed against their will by the threat of destitution, detention, violence (including death), or other extreme hardship to themselves, or to members of their families.
Unfree labour is often more easily instituted and enforced on migrant workers, who have travelled far from their homelands and who are easily identified because of their physical, ethnic or cultural differences to the general population, since they are unable or unlikely to report their conditions to the authorities.
Another historically significant example of forced labour was that of political prisoners, people from conquered or occupied countries, and prisoners of war, especially during the 20th century.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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