Sunday, June 04, 2006

Forced labor

Sometimes I think we forget what forced labor is. And we may forget that many European countries were still employing it in the 20th century. And I'm not referring to the Nazis.

Gendercide Watch provides a useful history.

A worker who voluntarily enters into employment is not forced labor even if the terms of employment are meager by Western standards. By its voluntary nature we know that that worker's life is improved by the job opportunity.

I was led to look into the conscription of labor in Africa by the French and Belgians by this NPR report: Origin of AIDS Linked to Colonial Practices in Africa. The colonial powers may not have anticipated all the negative consequences of their actions, but they did know that they were accomplishing their goals by using forced labor (and forced innoculation of the forced labor force) - pure and simple, slavery.


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