Monday, September 14, 2015

Guess Who

"Only a handful of unreconstructed reactionaries harbor the ugly thought of breaking unions. Only a fool would try to deprive working men and working women of the right to join the union of their choice."
"An industrial society dedicated to the largest possible measure of economic freedom must keep firm faith in collective bargaining. That process is the best method we have for changing and improving labor conditions and thus helping to raise the American standard of living.  
"Healthy collective bargaining requires responsible unions and responsible employers. Irresponsible bargainers cannot get results. Weak unions cannot be responsible. That alone is sufficient reason for having strong unions."

Blue Eagle, Yellow Dog, White Supremacy

How is it that we hear the loudest yelps for liberty among the drivers of negroes? -- Samuel Johnson

"The Southern States' Industrial Council was organized at Chattanooga, Tennessee, on December 19, 1933, 'to protect the South against discrimination' which meant, as was revealed in a subsequent meeting at Birmingham, Alabama, on February 27, 1934, the preservation of the Southern wage differentials. The arguments advanced were that higher labor costs would be fatal to the industries already established in the region or that the differential was necessary to permit the further expansion of industry in this agricultural region. The strangest argument, however, was advanced by Mr. John J. Edgerton, President of the Council. He felt that low pay would "preserve labor's racial purity, that is foreign labor will not be attracted to the Southland."

Saturday, September 12, 2015

"Nothing like this had previously existed in the long annals of human slavery."

An illuminating passage from Orlando Patterson's Slavery and Social Death:
The U.S. South shared with other slaveholding societies the exploitation of slave women and the inclination of masters to manumit their concubines and children. The intense shame that the master class felt about this sexual relationship was absolutely unique to the South, however. The guilt, with its disastrous consequence for the freedmen, had three sources. First, there was the puritanical tradition, which condemned fornication with the threat of fire and brimstone. Second, there was a highly developed sense of racial purity frequently codified in laws against miscegenation. And third, there was a strong moral commitment to a patriarchal family life, in which the women of the master class were placed on a pedestal and became symbolic not only of all that was virtuous, but as W. J. Cash has argued, of "the very notion of the South itself." The cult of southern womanhood was of course directly derived from slavery and the sense of racial superiority. Any assault on the dignity and honor of the idolized woman was an assault on the entire system. 
But southern males were no less pleasure-loving than the men of any other slaveholding society. Their hedonism, however, conflicted with their religious values, making the southern master alive to a deep sense of sin and wickedness: "the Southerner's frolic humor, his continual violation of his strict precepts in action, might serve constantly to exacerbate the sense of sin in him, to keep his zest for absolution always at white heat, to make him humbly amenable to the public proposals of his preachers, acquiescent in their demands for the incessant extension of their rule." Equally, his hedonistic exploitation of the slave women was an assault on the integrity of the idolized women, all of whom were constantly reminding him of his wickedness when they were not displacing their bitterness in acts of cruelty toward comely female slaves. 
The result of all this was that the freed group, with its disproportionate number of mixed-blood members, was a living reproof, a caste of shame, confronting the white males with the fact that they repeatedly violated not only their puritanical precepts but the the honor of their women. It was not guilt about slavery that accounts for exceptional hostility toward freedmen, as Berlin and others claim, or any real fear of them as a political threat, but guilt about their own violation of their own social order. The "zest for absolution always at white heat" made it imperative that the freedmen be scourged from their midst—or, if not scourged, punished, victimized, and defiled like scapegoats. 
Nothing like this had previously existed in the long annals of human slavery.

Sandwich-man elected leader of Labour Party

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Labor Day: "Wealth is Disposable Time… and Nothing More"

"Is there not a state of society practicable, in which leisure shall be made the inheritance of every one of its members?" -- William Godwin
Published anonymously in 1821, The Source and Remedy of the National Difficulties, deduced from principles of political economy, in a letter to Lord John Russell, was, according to Friedrich Engels, "saved from falling into oblivion," by Karl Marx. At the time of Engel's remark, however, Marx had scarcely mentioned the pamphlet in published writings other than a scant footnote in Volume I of Capital. Some rescue! Nevertheless, Engels acclaimed the pamphlet as "but the farthest outpost of an entire literature which in the twenties turned the Ricardian theory of value and surplus value against capitalist production in the interest of the proletariat."

In his unpublished notebooks, Marx did declare the pamphlet an advance beyond Adam Smith and David Ricardo in its conscious and consistent distinction between the general form of surplus value or surplus labor and its particular manifestations in the forms of land rent, interest of money or profit of enterprise. Commenting on the pamphlet, Marx returned several times to what he referred to reverently as a fine statement: "a nation is really rich if no interest is paid for the use of capital, if the working day is only 6 hours rather than 12. WEALTH IS DISPOSABLE TIME, AND NOTHING MORE." Marx noted that Ricardo had also identified disposable time as the true wealth with the difference that, for Ricardo, it was disposable time for the capitalist that constituted such wealth. Ricardo's ideal would thus be to maximize surplus value as a proportion of total output.

Marx again cited the phrase in his Grundrisse, immediately following a characteristically explosive proposition:
Forces of production and social relations – two different sides of the development of the social individual – appear to capital as mere means for it to produce on its limited foundation. In fact, however, they are the material condition to blow this foundation sky-high. 'Truly wealthy a nation, when the working day is 6 rather than 12 hours.'
Just how successful Marx was in saving the 1821 pamphlet from oblivion remains to be seen. Obviously, the pamphlet was spared from total oblivion or I wouldn't be writing about it. Aside from the few references by Marx and Engels, there have been scattered mentions of the pamphlet but no sustained analysis of it, which seems odd considering the importance that Engels – and Marx, in his manuscripts at least – assigned to it.

Perhaps one of the difficulties has been the anonymity of its authorship. That problem would appear to have been resolved by a disclosure in the biography of the 19th century editor and literary critic, Charles Wentworth Dilke. Dilke's grandson, the biography's author, reported having found an annotated copy of the pamphlet, acknowledging authorship, among his grandfather's papers. Subsequent authorities on Dilke and the literary journal he edited for several decades, The Athaeneum, appear satisfied with the plausibility of this attribution, given Dilke's writing style, his propensity for anonymous and pseudonymous publication, his political inclinations and his subsequent career. There doesn't appear to have been any concerted effort to either definitively establish or to refute Dilke's authorship. So Dilke qualifies as the leading and, so far, only candidate for authorship.

If Dilke was indeed the author, this presents two rather significant bits of context to the pamphlet. First, Dilke was an ardent disciple of William Godwin, who wrote, 'The genuine wealth of man is leisure…" The poet, John Keats, who was a close friend and next-door neighbor referred to Dilke, somewhat patronizingly, as a "Godwin perfectibility man". He was said to have retained that political inclination throughout his life. Second, in his career as editor of The Athaeneum, Dilke campaigned famously against journalistic "puffery" – the practice of publishers placing promotional material for their books in literary journals, for a fee, under the pretext that they were independent reviews. Both of these contextual items could be significant for an interpretation of The Source and Remedy precisely because the pamphlet lends itself arguably to a reading as a Godwinist tract (rather than a proto-Marxist one) but also to a reading as a polemic against yet another brand of puffery: political economy practiced by apologists for privilege and wealth. As for "turning the Ricardian theory of value against capitalist production," such an intention would hardly seem to fit an essay that on its closing page counted among the great advantages of the measures proposed therein that "their adoption would leave the country at liberty to pursue such a wise and politic system of financial legislation as would leave trade and commerce unrestricted."

The Source and Remedy of the National Difficulties had something to say rather distinct from the message Marx took away from it. In his various notes on the pamphlet, Marx paid closest attention to the first six pages of the 40-page pamphlet and glossed over the rest. In his discussion of the pamphlet in Theories of Surplus Value, for example, the reader may wonder if Marx was actually still talking about the pamphlet after a few pages or had gone off on a tangent inspired by the pamphleteer having allegedly overlooked the impact of unemployment on wages. It has to be cautioned, though, that Marx's extended comments on the pamphlet appeared in manuscript notes that were published posthumously. They were not polished, fully thought-out positions intended for publication.

Although the first six pages are indeed interesting, in the context of the pamphlet as a whole their function is to set the stage for the crucial pair of questions that appear on page seven. That is, after deducing from principles of political economy that capital, left to its natural course, would soon do away with further accumulation, the author asks why that seemingly inevitable result has never happened and how it is that with all the presumably labor-saving wonders of modern industry, workers work longer hours and more laboriously than ever before.

Dilke's answer was that government and legislation act ceaselessly to destroy the produce of labor and interfere with the natural development of capital. They do this indirectly by, on the one hand, maintaining "unproductive classes" at a constant proportion to productive laborers and on the other by enabling the immense expansion of "fictitious capital," based ultimately on protectionism and government finance. Government does these things so that it may raise an enormous level of revenues that it couldn't through direct taxation of the laboring population, because "it would have been gross, open, shameless, and consequently impossible." Instead, it makes the holders of this fictitious capital accomplices in a stratagem to exact a much-enlarged revenue. As partner in crime, the capitalist lays claim to a generous portion of the booty. Not surprisingly, war is a "powerful co-operator" in this relentless process of destroying the produce of labor while expanding the (asymmetrical) claims of fictitious capital.

As for the natural claims of surplus value exacted by the capitalist, Dilke viewed them as causing the laborer "no real grievance to complain of," a position at least apparently at odds with Marx's views of exploitation and almost certainly incompatible with Engels' assertion that the pamphlet turned Ricardian theory "against capitalist production." Not only was Dilke not opposed to capitalist production, he described it as leading to a virtually Utopian condition of freedom if only it was left to unfold according to its nature. In his note, Marx objected that the pamphleteer had overlooked two things in coming to such a sanguine conclusion about the trajectory of capitalist accumulation. One was unemployment. Marx never got around to specifying the other.

Dilke's reasoning, although thought-provoking, is far from airtight. He confessed in his closing pages that his argument "is not so consecutive, that the proofs do not follow the principles laid down so immediately as I could have wished. The reasoning is too desultory, too loose in its texture." Whether such regrets were heartfelt or simply a stylistic gesture of modesty is hard to say. The subject matter itself is elusive and no treatment of it could be entirely exempt from error. Nevertheless, the case Dilke presented was an original and compelling one that has, as far as I know, been overlooked by Marx and his intellectual heirs.

The part of the argument that Marx appropriated to his own analysis – the author's consistent reference to surplus value as the general form underlying profit, rent and interest was ultimately incidental to Dilke's main points that nature places a limit on accumulation and that the surpassing of those natural limits occurs only as a result of government intervention, which, in effect mandates the excessive exploitation of labor.

There is a problem that arises from Marx appropriation of the (for Marx) correct premise of the pamphlet without first having systematically refuted the author's own deductions from it. What if Dilke's deductions were either equally or more plausible than Marx's? Rather than being a focal point of class struggle, might not surplus value then be "no real grievance to complain of?" Rather than underpinning a contradiction fated to blow the foundation of capital sky-high, might not the tension between "things superfluous" and disposable time have the potential to be adjusted like wing flaps to help bring Capitalism in for a soft landing?

By things superfluous, I refer, first, to the unholy trinity of fictitious capital, unproductive labor and inconvertible paper money and second, to their commodified expression as luxury goods. What I am suggesting is that for Dilke it seems that the primary contradictions of capitalism (to use Marx's expression) lay not so much between capital and labor as between real and fictitious capital, productive and unproductive labor, convertible and inconvertible money, necessities and luxury goods. This internalizing of the contradictions recalls Solzhenitsyn's observation in the Gulag Archipelago that, "the line separating good and evil passes not through states, nor between classes, nor between political parties either, but right through every human heart, and through all human hearts." Might we not ask if it's not only the line between good and evil that passes through every human heart but also the line between labor and capital, proletariat and bourgeoisie? From the standpoint of the arguments presented in The Source and Remedy, a proletarian revolution would be, in effect, superfluous. The possibility of revolution would arrive more or less at the moment when such a revolution would no longer be necessary.

Friday, September 4, 2015

The Moral Center of Capitalism and the Cornerstone of the Confederacy

"I would remind you that extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice! And let me remind you also that moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue!" -- Harry Jaffa
Robert Reich asks, "What happened to the moral center of capitalism?":
An economy depends fundamentally on public morality; some shared standards about what sorts of activities are impermissible because they so fundamentally violate trust that they threaten to undermine the social fabric.
A few days ago Sandwichman posted a long selection from John Elliot Cairnes's The Slave Power (1862) in which Cairnes expressed similar sentiments
But it seems impossible that a whole people should live permanently in contemplation of a system which does violence to its moral instincts. One of two results will happen. Either its moral instincts will lead it to reform the institution which offends them, or those instincts will be perverted, and become authorities for what in their unsophisticated condition they condemned.
The resolution of this conflict, according to Cairnes,  "depends whether the Power which derives its strength from slavery shall be set up with enlarged resources and increased prestige, or be now once for all effectually broken."

The slave power was not broken once and for all but was reincarnated in the neo-Confederate ideology that underpinned segregation and the enduring white supremacy of the American political discourse. In documenting that the reason for the Civil War was the defence of slavery, Cairnes quoted a passage from Confederate Vice President Alexander Stephens's "cornerstone" speech. Harry Jaffa, the conservative historian who wrote Barry Goldwater's 1964 acceptance speech, characterized Stephens's cornerstone speech in the following terms:
This remarkable address conveys, more than any other contemporary document, not only the soul of the Confederacy but also of that Jim Crow South that arose from the ashes of the Confederacy. From the end of Reconstruction until after World War Il, the idea of racial inequality gripped the territory of the former Confederacy—and not only of the former Confederacy—more profoundly than it had done under slavery. Nor is its influence by any means at an end. Stephens’s prophecy of the Confederacy’s future resembles nothing so much as Hitler’s prophecies of the Thousand-Year Reich. Nor are their theories very different. Stephens, unlike Hitler, spoke only of one particular race as inferior. But the principle ot racial domination, once established, can easily be extended to fit the convenience of the self-anointed master race or class, whoever it may be.
The "measuring rod" of historical "correctness" for school textbooks in the Southern States instructed school boards and libraries to "Reject a book that says the South fought to hold her slaves." These criteria, enforced by state textbook selection committees in the South, became the de facto national norm for the U.S. due to commercial expediency.

So, Reich's question, "what happened to the moral center of capitalism?" can only be answered with a question: "what moral center?"

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Microaggressions and Measuring Rods

I don't care who writes a nation's laws — or crafts its advanced treatises — if I can write its economics textbooks. -- Paul Samuelson
In a comment on a recent post about the factitious "political correctness" controversy, Barkley brought to the Sandwichman's attention a recent uproar about "an absurd restriction on speech" issued by U.C. Berkeley President Janet Napolitano, in which "Examples of forbidden speech include 'America is a melting pot.'"

Barkley was correct that there was an enormous kerfuffle about the outrageous infringement on freedom of speech. But what this totalitarian muzzling of free thought by the Insane Speech Police amounted to was an innocuous -- if rather over-earnestly patronizing -- handout "Tool" titled "Recognizing Microaggressions and the Messages They Send." Yes, one of the example statements was indeed "America is a melting pot."

Here is the [yawn] tyrannical wording of the free speech banishing edict:
Microaggressions are the everyday verbal, nonverbal, and environmental slights, snubs, or insults, whether intentional or unintentional, that communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative messages to target persons based solely upon their marginalized group membership. The first step in addressing microaggressions is to recognize when a microaggression has occurred and what message it may be sending. The context of the relationship and situation is critical. Below are common themes to which microaggressions attach. [emphasis in original]
For those of you who are slow on the uptake, "recognize" is the secret Insane Speech Police code word for "Verboten!" Also, note the ominous reference to a "first step" -- leaving the horrific second and third steps to the imagination. Concentration camp, anyone? Summary execution?

"America is a melting pot" was presented as one of five examples of "Color Blindness: Statements that indicate that a White person does not want to or need to acknowledge race."

Does this kind of bureaucratic manners micromanagement serve any useful purpose? No, it's busybody administrative bullshit. Ever worked in an office? But is it the Left-Wing Gestapo bursting down the hallowed doors of academic freedom? Oh, please.

Frankly, I find the hysterical* -- and orchestrated -- distortions of this tripe by the self-appointed Guardians of Liberty far more intimidating to speech than the anodyne tripe itself. If you're a leftie or a Democrat, don't you ever dare to say anything half-baked that the Mighty Wurlitzer Propaganda Mill assholes Guardians of Liberty can quote out of context and blow-up out of proportion.

Do you want to see actual censorship and infringement of academic freedom in action? I would suggest, then, having a good long look at the career of Mildred Lewis Rutherford and the successful campaign to rewrite the history of the Civil War, as taught in the South. "Reject a book that says the South fought to hold her slaves."

Miss Mildred L. Rutherford
At their 1919 reunion the United Confederate Veterans "resolved to inaugurate a movement to disseminate the truths of Confederate history." To carry out this aim, they comissioned Miss Rutherford, Historian for the United Daughters of the Confederacy to prepare "A Measuring Rod to Test Text Books and Reference Books in Schools, Colleges and Libraries" to be used by textbook committees of boards of education, private schools and libraries to ensure "absolute fairness" "truth in history" and "full justice to the South."

These crackers were not just whistling Dixie. If you know anything about the textbook industry, whatever Texas wants, y'all get. "The Lost Cause triumphed in the curriculum," quipped historian James McPherson, "if not on the battlefield." Here are some excerpts from the pamphlet's front matter:
" 'A Measuring Rod For Text-Books,' prepared by Miss Mildred L. Rutherford, by which every text-book on history and literature in Southern schools should be tested by those desiring the truth, was submitted to the Committee. This outline was read and carefully considered. 
"The Committee charged, as it is, with the dissemination of the truths of Confederate history, earnestly and fully and officially, approve all that is herein so truthfully written as to that eventful period. 
"The Committee respectfully urges all authorities charged with the selection of text-books for colleges, schools and all scholastic institutions to measure all books offered for adoption by this "Measuring Rod" and adopt none which do not accord full justice to the South. And all library authorities in the Southern States are requested to mark all books in their collections which do not come up to the same measure, on the title page thereof, "Unjust to the South." 
"This Committee further asks all scholastic and library authorities, in all parts of the country, in justice and fairness to their fellow citizens of the South, to yield to the above request. 
"C. IRVINE WALKER, Chairman."
I. The Constitution of the United States, 1787, Was a Compact between Sovereign States and Was not Perpetual nor National 6 
II. Secession Was not Rebellion 7 
III. The North Was Responsible for the War between the States 8 
IV. The War between the States Was not Fought to Hold the Slaves 9 
V. The Slaves Were Not Ill-Treated in the South and the North Was largely Responsible for their Presence in the South 10 
VI. Coercion Was not Constitutional 11 
VII. The Federal Government Was Responsible for the Andersonville Horrors 12 
VIII. The Republican Party that Elected Abraham Lincoln Was not Friendly to the South 13 
IX. The South Desired Peace and Made every Effort to Obtain it 14, 15, 16 
X. The Policy of the Northern Army Was to Destroy Property—the Southern Army to Protect it 18-21 
XI. The South Has never Had its Rightful Place in Literature 22-23
Do not reject a text-book because it does not contain all that the South claims—a text-book cannot be a complete encyclopedia. 
Do not reject a text book because it omits to mention your father, your grandfather, your personal friend, socially or politically— it would take volumes to contain all of the South 's great men and their deeds. 
Do not reject a text-book because it may disagree with your estimate of the South 's great men, and the leaders of the South 's Army and Navy—the world can never agree with any one person's estimate in all things. 
But—reject a book that speaks of the Constitution other than a Compact between Sovereign States. 
Reject a text-book that does not give the principles for which the South fought in 1861, and does not clearly outline the interferences with the rights guaranteed to the South by the Constitution, and which caused secession. 
Reject a book that calls the Confederate soldier a traitor or rebel, and the war a rebellion. 
Reject a book that says the South fought to hold her slaves. 
Reject a book that speaks of the slaveholder of the South as cruel and unjust to his slaves. 
Reject a text-book that glorifies Abraham Lincoln and villifies Jefferson Davis, unless a truthful cause can be found for such glorification and villification before 1865. 
Reject a text-book that omits to tell of the South 's heroes and their deeds when the North's heroes and their deeds are made prominent. 
Refuse to adopt any text-book, or endorse any set of books, upon the promise of changes being made to omit the objectionable features. 
A list of books, condemned or commended by the Veterans, Sons of Veterans, and U. D. C, is being prepared by Miss Rutherford as a guide for Text-Book Committees and Librarians. This list of course contains only the names of those books which have been submitted for examination. Others will be added and published monthly in "The Confederate Veteran" Nashville, Tennessee. 

* Trigger Warning: Yes, I know the etymology of the word "hysterical."

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

The Confederate Ideology: "At this cost the system is maintained."

Cornell students leaving Willard Straight Hall
"We presume that the citizens of Virginia are much like the 'rest of mankind,' and under ordinary circumstances have as much nerve as falls to the lot of common humanity. But they have long lived under the shadow of a great terror. Each slaveholder keeps a grim skeleton in his social closet, which may start into life at any moment. The 'demon of hate' which his life of wrong and outrage has invoked, haunts him night and day. He listens for the roar of the slumbering fires of the volcano upon whose sides he sleeps, and every sound that hurtles through the air, every footfall behind him, makes him fancy that the avenger is on his truck." -- Frederick Douglass, "The Reign of Terror in the South"
The sub-sub-title to John Ellis Cairnes's eloquent The Slave Power described the 1862 book as "an attempt to explain the real issues involved in the American contest." This blog post is an attempt to explain the real issues involved in the (too) long-enduring contest over "political correctness." It comes to the conclusion that it is pretty much the same real issue as Cairnes identified. The spectre of political correctness emanates from the "grim skeleton in [America's... capitalism's] social closet, which may start into life at any moment."

Undoubtedly, the "political-correctness police" exact a tremendous toll on the psyches of White Americans and have been doing so for several decades. To put all that torment in perspective, one is advised to read Alexander Cockburn from 1992, "Bush & P.C. -- A conspiracy so immense..." Lewis Lapham from 2004, "Tentacles of Rage: The Republican Propaganda Mill, a brief history," and Martin Jay from 2010, "Dialectic of Counter-Enlightenment: The Frankfurt School as scapegoat of the lunatic fringe." 

A Republican Propaganda Mill
Cockburn's article gives a good idea of the breadth and intensity of the moral panic when it surfaced under the P.C. rubric in the early 1990s. Lapham's provides a peek into the inner workings of the well-oiled and highly-connected "propaganda mill" that perpetually incites the panic. Jay's dissects the even seamier underbelly of the already seamy enterprise.

"In spite of elaborate attempts at mystification..."

"[T]he core of all the fuss" about political correctness, Cockburn noted, is race. More precisely, the fuss is about the ideological legacy of slavery as it has been articulated through race. The persistence and prominence of a "crack-brained" conspiracy theory purporting to chronicle the origins of political correctness testifies to the disproportionality and unfocused banality of the myriad and unrelenting complaints. In truth, those complaints do not refer to the petty incidents they cite but to an anxiety that cannot be named:
"Undefined terror broods in the air. Every stranger is watched, examined, and if his business is not plainly set forth, he is imprisoned... These people are not menaced by a foreign foe.There is no pirate‘s fleet upon their waters, no invading army on their borders, no lurking savages in their forests. ..." -- Frederick Douglass, "The Reign of Terror in the South"
The best way to understand this undefined terror is to first recall its precedent and precursor, the perverted rationale for slavery, so ably described by Cairnes, that prevailed in the Southern slave states in the years leading up to the U.S. Civil War. The technology of chattel slavery may have been dismantled following the Union victory but the pathological rationale -- and "the Power which derives its strength from slavery" -- has simply been displaced and preserved.
Whatever we may think of the tendencies of democratic institutions, or of the influence of territorial magnitude on the American character, no theory framed upon these or upon any other incidents of the contending parties, however ingeniously constructed, will suffice to conceal the fact, that it is slavery which is at the bottom of this quarrel, and that on its determination it depends whether the Power which derives its strength from slavery shall be set up with enlarged resources and increased prestige, or be now once for all effectually broken. ...
Slavery has not merely determined the general form and character of the social and political economy of the Southern States, it has entered into the soul of the people, and has generated a code of ethics and a type of Christianity adapted to its peculiar requirements. ...
As a political economist, Cairnes gained notoriety for his late defense of the wages-fund doctrine. He is also credited with initiating the tradition of making ceteris paribus assumptions explicit. In Slave Power, he also contributed to the economic theory of slavery, which I will get to latter. But his account of the ethics and theology -- that is to say, the ideology -- of slavery in the South is so compelling that I take the liberty of presenting an extended excerpt below:
At the epoch of the revolution slavery was regarded by all the eminent men who took part in that movement as essentially an evil—an evil which might indeed be palliated as having come down to that generation from an earlier and less enlightened age, and which, having entwined itself with the institutions of the country, required to be delicately dealt with—but still an evil, indefensible on moral and religious grounds, and which ought not to be permanently endured.... The leading statesmen of that time… whether from the North or from the South, whether agreeing or not in their views on the practical mode of dealing with the institution, alike concurred in reprobating at least the principle of slavery. ... borrow the words of De Tocqueville, the overthrow of slavery in the Northern States was effected "by abolishing the principle of slavery, not by setting the slaves free."… The effect, therefore, of the Northern measures of abolition was, for the most part, simply to transfer Northern slaves to Southern markets. ...
But it seems impossible that a whole people should live permanently in contemplation of a system which does violence to its moral instincts. One of two results will happen. Either its moral instincts will lead it to reform the institution which offends them, or those instincts will be perverted, and become authorities for what in their unsophisticated condition they condemned. The latter alternative is that which has happened in the Southern States. Slavery is no longer regarded there as a barbarous institution, to be palliated with whispering humbleness as an inheritance from a ruder age ; but rather as a system admirable for its intrinsic excellence, worthy to be upheld and propagated, the last and completest result of time. The right of the white man to hold the negro in permanent thraldom, to compel him to work for his profit, to keep him in enforced ignorance, to sell him, to flog him, and, if need be, to kill him, to separate him at pleasure from his wife and children, to transport him for no crime to a remote region where he is in a few years worked to death—this is now propounded as a grand discovery in ethical and political science, made for the first time by the enlightened leaders of the Southern Confederation, and recommended by that philanthropic body to all civilized nations for their adoption, This Confederation, which is the opprobrium of the age, puts itself forward as a model for its imitation, and calmly awaits the tardy applause of mankind. "The ideas entertained at the time of the formation of the old Constitution," says the Vice President of the Southern Confederacy,
"...were that the enslavement of the African race was in violation of the laws of nature; that it was wrong in principle, socially, morally, and politically. Our new government is founded on exactly opposite ideas; its foundations are laid, its corner-stone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery—subordination to the superior race—is his natural and moral condition. This our Government is the first in the history of the world based upon this great physical, philosophical, and moral truth. It is upon this our social fabric is firmly planted, and I cannot permit myself to doubt the ultimate success of the full recognition of this principle throughout the civilized and enlightened world.... This stone which was rejected by the first builders 'is become the chief stone of the corner' in our new edifice.
Opinion in the South has long passed beyond the stage at which slavery needs to be defended by argument. The subject is now never touched but in a strain such as the freedom conquered at Marathon and Plataea inspired in the orators of Athens. It is "the beneficent source and wholesome foundation of our civilization;" an institution, "moral and civilizing, useful at once to blacks and whites." "To suppress slavery would be to throw back civilization two hundred years." "It is not a moral evil. It is the Lord's doing, and marvellous in our eyes…  It is by divine appointment."

But slavery in the south is something more than a moral and political principle: it has become a fashionable taste, a social passion. The possession of a slave in the South carries with it the same sort of prestige as the possession of land in this country, as the possession of a horse among the Arabs: it brings the owner into connexion with the privileged class; it forms a presumption that he has attained a certain social position. Slaves have thus in the South acquired a factitious value, and are coveted with an eagerness far beyond what the intrinsic utility of their services would explain. A Chancellor of South Carolina describes slavery as in accordance with "the proudest and most deeply cherished feelings " of his countrymen—" feelings, which others, if they will, may call prejudices." A governor of Kansas declares that he "loves" the institution, and that he votes for it because he "loves" it. Nor are these sentiments confined to the slaveholding minority. The all-important circumstance is that they are shared equally by the whole white population. Far from reprobating a system which has deprived them of the natural means of rising in the scale of humanity, they fall in with the prevailing modes of thought, and are warm admirers, and, when need arises, effective defenders, of an institution which has been their curse. To be the owner of a slave is the chief object of the poor white's ambition; "quot pascit servos?" [how many slaves?] the one criterion by which he weighs the worth of his envied superiors in the social scale. 
Such has been the course of opinion on the subject of slavery in the Southern States. The progress of events, far from conducing to the gradual mitigation and ultimate extinction of the system, has tended distinctly in the opposite direction—to the aggravation of its worst evils and the consolidation of its strength. The extension of the area subject to the Slave Power and the increase in the slave population have augmented at once the inducements for retaining the institution and the difficulty of getting rid of it; while the ideas of successive generations, bred up in its presence and under the influence of the interests to which it has given birth, have provided for it in the minds of the people a moral support. The result is, that the position of the slave in the Southern States at the present time, so far as it depends upon the will and power of his masters, is in all respects more hopeless than it has ever been in any former age, or in any other quarter of the world. A Fugitive Slave law, which throws into shade the former atrocities of slavery, has been enacted, and until the recent disturbances was strictly enforced. The education of the negro is more than ever rigorously proscribed. Emancipation finds in the growth of fanatical pro-slavery opinions obstacles more formidable even than in the laws. Propositions have been entertained by the legislatures in some states for reducing all free coloured persons to slavery by one wholesale enactment; in others these people have been banished from the state under pain of this fate. Everything in the laws, in the customs, in the education of the people, has been contrived with the single view of degrading the negro to the level of the brute, and blotting out from his mind the hope and even the idea of freedom.
Tragic Prelude by John Steuart Curry
The thoroughness—the absolute disregard of all consequences with which this purpose has been pursued, is but little understood in this country. History can supply no instance of a despotism more complete and searching than that which for some years past has prevailed in the Southern States. Since the attempt of John Brown at Harper's Ferry, its oppression has reached a height which can only be adequately described as a reign of terror. It is long since freedom of discussion on any question connected with slavery would have been tolerated. But it is not merely freedom of discussion which is now prohibited. The design seems to have been formed of putting down freedom of thought, and of banishing from the South every trace of dissentient opinion. A system of espionage has been organized. The mail bags have in many states been freely opened, and the postmasters of petty villages have exercised a free discretion -in giving or withholding the documents entrusted to their care. In the, more southern states vigilance committees have been established en permanence. Before these self-constituted tribunals persons of unblemished reputation and inoffensive manners have been summoned, and, on a few days' notice, for no other offence than that of being known to entertain sentiments unfavourable to slavery, have been banished from the state where they resided; and this in direct violation of a specific provision of the Constitution of the United States. Clergymen, who have broken no law, for merely discharging their duties according to their consciences, have been arrested, thrown into prison, and visited with ignominious punishment. Travellers, who have incautiously, in ignorance of the intensity of the popular feeling, ventured to give temperate expression to anti-slavery opinions, have been seized by the mob, tarred and feathered, ducked, flogged, and in some instances hanged. Nay, so sensitively jealous has the feeling of the South become, that the slightest link of connexion with a suspected locality—to have resided in the North, to have sent one's children to a Northern school—is sufficient to secure expulsion from a slave state. An abolitionist in the ethics of the South is the vilest of all human beings, and every one is an abolitionist who does not reside in a slave state and share to the full the prevailing pro-slavery sentiment. Such is the point which civilization has reached under slave institutions. At this cost the system is maintained.
It must be acknowledged that Cairnes's diagnostic prowess exceeded his powers of prescription. He foresaw that  mere manumission of the slave population would be untenable without "protection against the efforts of their former masters to recover their lost power, and, no less, the provision for them of a career in the future." Away from the border states, where he anticipated a peaceful transition to be feasible, Cairnes observed that:
...especially in the more southern of the Slave States, there are, as we know, vast regions of wilderness. Over these wanders a miserable white population, idle, lawless, and cherishing for the negro a contempt, which, on his being raised to their level by emancipation, would be quickly converted into hatred.
Incidentally, Cairnes attributed the degraded condition of the "mean whites" to the external economies of slavery, which eroded both the work ethic of the poor whites and their incentive to engage in regular employment:
The demoralization produced by the presence of a degraded class [i.e. slave labor] renders the white man at once an unwilling and an inefficient labourer; and the external incidents of slavery afford him the means of existing without engaging in regular toil.
Given these extenuating circumstances, Cairnes recommended a gradual process of emancipation, at first freeing only about a quarter of the slaves who lived in the boarder states, along with containment of the slave territory. His expectation was that slavery thus politically contained would become progressively uneconomical and thus would eventually be abandoned by the slaveholders.

There is no guarantee Cairnes's gradualism would have succeeded any better than a universal emancipation proclamation. A third alternative to either gradualism or mere manumission would have been abolition of both chattel slavery and the wages system, advocated by Karl Marx as well as by Free Soil activists in the United States.

Cairnes was not inclined to throw out the capitalist baby along with the fetid bathwater of the Southern Slave Power. But his embryonic economic theory of slavery jibes with later historical accounts that identify plantation slavery in the Mediterranean and off the coast of Africa as the generative form of large-scale industrial capitalism. Perhaps dancer and dance would be a more apt metaphor for the relationship between capitalism and slavery than baby and bathwater.
O chestnut tree, great rooted blossomer,
Are you the leaf, the blossom or the bole?
O body swayed to music, O brightening glance,
How can we know the dancer from the dance?
The simplest formulation of the economic theory of slavery is that free labor, free land and a landowning aristocracy can not all three co-exist in a simple agricultural economy. Evsey Domar ("The Causes of Slavery or Serfdom: A hypothesis" 1970) elaborated the theory as presented by Vasily Kliuchevsky:
The economist would recast Kliuchevsky’s account as follows: The servitors tried to live off rents (in one form or another) to be collected from their estates. But the estates could not yield a significant amount of rent for the simple reason that land in Russia was not sufficiently scarce relative to labor, and ironically, was made even less scarce by Russian conquests. The scarce factor of production was not land but labor. Hence it was the ownership of peasants and not of land that could yield an income to the servitors or to any non-working landowning class. 
A simple economic model may sharpen the argument (if any sharpening is needed) and help to develop it further. Assume that labor and land are the only factors of production (no capital or management), and that land of uniform quality and location is ubiquitous. No diminishing returns in the application of labor to land appear; both the average and the marginal productivities of labor are constant and equal, and if competition among employers raises wages to that level (as would be expected), no rent from land can arise, as Ricardo demonstrated some time past. In the absence of specific governmental action to the contrary (see below), the country will consist of family-size farms because hired labor, in any form, will be either unavailable or unprofitable: the wage of a hired man or the income of a tenant will have to be at least equal to what he can male on his own farm; if he receives that much, no surplus (rent) will be left for his employer. A non-working class of servitors or others could be supported by the government out of taxes levied (directly or indirectly) on the peasants, but it could not support itself from land rents. 
To recapitulate, the strong version of this hypothesis (without capital, management, etc.) asserts that of the three elements of an agricultural structure relevant here—free land, free peasants, and non-working landowners—any two elements but never all three can exist simultaneously. The combination to be found in reality will depend on the behavior of political factors—governmental measures—treated here as an exogenous variable.
Barbara Solow ("Capitalism and Slavery in the Exceedingly Long Run," 1987) examined the implications of this theory for the corollary hypothesis that slavery "kick-started" the industrial revolution: introducing an elastic supply of an especially productive sort to the economy, by possibly increasing savings rates, and by enabling savings to be invested more productively, resulted in greater European income and more trade, with all the benefits that division of labor and gains from trade provided. To the extent that colonial slave production was in agriculture, Europe's comparative advantage shifted to manufactures.
Solow cautioned that whether "this scenario lead to an industrial revolution... remains to be seen from the historical record,"  which she then summarized:
The historical story is that the Italians transferred the sugar-slave complex, which they had developed as a means of colonial exploitation, to Madeira, the Canaries, and the West African islands. The consequent flows of capital, labor, sugar, and manufactures turned these colonies one by one into centers of international trade, uniting them with Europe and Africa in a complex web of transactions. Slavery opened investment opportunities for Europe and allowed northern Europe to trade its manufactures for sugar. I argue that the spread of the slave-sugar complex played a major role in the discovery and economic exploitation of America, as first the Dutch and then the English and French transferred these institutions to Brazil and the Caribbean. This microcosm of capital and trade flows associated with plantation slavery became quantitatively important for British economic development in the eighteenth century. But the mechanism which accomplished this development existed in miniature all along the route from Palestine to Crete to Madeira to the Canaries to Sao Tome to Brazil and to the Caribbean.... 
Until the nineteenth century, wherever sugar and slavery went, a web of international trading flows in capital, merchandise, labor supply, and shipping was woven. Where slavery did not go, less trade flowed between Europe and the rest of the world. Fanciful tales that European growth was due to exploitation of "the periphery" by "the metropolis" do not withstand scholarly examination. The exploitation that really mattered for 300 years was the exploitation of African slaves.
How Confederate ideology propels the Republican propaganda mill

At first sight, my contention may seem anachronistic, after all the economic provenance of slavery, according to the theory articulated by Cairnes, Kliuchevsky, Domar and Solow revolves around a local super-abundance of land and scarcity of free labor. Given ecological limits and chronic high unemployment, the conditions of scarcity and abundance are reversed from the conditions conducive to slave economy. 

My hypothesis, which I will only state briefly at this time, is that archaic ideology resonates with the two characteristic and predominant features of late capitalism: the hypertrophy of "factitious values" and the exaltation of the right to generate environmental externalities as God-given feature of private property. Recall two passages from Cairnes's analysis:
The possession of a slave in the South carries with it the same sort of prestige as the possession of land in this country, as the possession of a horse among the Arabs: it brings the owner into connexion with the privileged class; it forms a presumption that he has attained a certain social position. Slaves have thus in the South acquired a factitious value,

The demoralization produced by the presence of a degraded class [i.e. slave labor] renders the white man at once an unwilling and an inefficient labourer; and the external incidents of slavery afford him the means of existing without engaging in regular toil.
Today, the factitious value of slave ownership has migrated (as factitious values are wont to do!) from the slave attribute of the owned Black to the White attribute of the slave owner. The emancipated possession, which registers as a sort of phantom limb of the (non-)possessor, is thus invested in an identity politics of nativism and white supremacy. Meanwhile, the means of "subsistence without toil" (at least without arduous toil) are afforded by the wonders of technology -- that is, by legions of petroleum energy slaves exhaling their carbon emissions into the atmosphere.