Slavery, para-slavery and plantations

African slave labor extracted from forcibly transported Africans was used extensively to work on early plantations (such as cotton and sugar plantations) in the American colonies and the United States, throughout the Caribbean, the Americas and in European-occupied areas of Africa. Several notable historians and economists such as Eric Williams, Walter Rodney and Karl Marx contend that the global capitalist economy was largely founded on the creation and produce of thousands of slave labour camps based in colonial plantations exploiting tens of millions of abducted Africans. In modern times, the low wages typically paid to plantation workers are the basis of plantation profitability in some areas. Sugarcane plantations in the Caribbean and Brazil, worked by slave labour, were also examples of the plantation system. In more recent times, overt slavery has been replaced by "para-slavery" or slavery-in-kind, including the sharecropping system. At its most extreme, workers are in "debt bondage": they must work to pay off a debt at such punitive interest rates that it may never be paid off. Others work unreasonably long hours and are paid subsistence wages that (in practice) may only be spent in the company store. In Brazil, a sugarcane plantation was termed an engenho ("engine"), and the 17th-century English usage for organized colonial production was "factory". Such colonial social and economic structures are discussed at Plantation economy. Sugar workers on plantations in Cuba and elsewhere in the Caribbean lived in company towns known as Bateys. Slavery is a system unde

which people are treated as property to be bought and sold, and are forced to work.[1] Slaves can be held against their will from the time of their capture, purchase or birth, and deprived of the right to leave, to refuse to work, or to demand compensation. Historically, slavery was institutionally recognized by many societies; in more recent times slavery has been outlawed in most societies but continues through the practices of debt bondage, indentured servitude, serfdom, domestic servants kept in captivity, certain adoptions in which children are forced to work as slaves, child soldiers, and forced marriage.[2] There are more slaves in the early 21st century than at any previous time but opponents hope slavery can be eradicated within 30 years.[3] Slavery predates written records and has existed in many cultures.[4] The number of slaves today remains as high as 12 million[5] to 27 million.[6][7] Most are debt slaves, largely in South Asia, who are under debt bondage incurred by lenders, sometimes even for generations.[8] Human trafficking is primarily used for forcing women and children into sex industries.[9] In pre-industrial societies, slaves and their labour were economically extremely important. Slaves and serfs made up around three-quarters of the world's population at the beginning of the 19th century.[10] In modern mechanised societies, there is less need for sheer massive manpower; Norbert Wiener wrote that "mechanical labor has most of the economic properties of slave labor, though ... it does not involve the direct demoralizing effects of human cruelty."