Volume 4, Number 18 September 4, 2001
The "Xís" and "Oís" of the "Slavery Game"
by Dr. Ridgely Abdul Muímin Muhammad
The argument is now mounting for "Reparations" for the Slave Trade. So-called white people and even some "negroes" are arguing that thatís all over now and the people who benefited from slavery are long dead. They use such arguments as "Look, we have basketball players who are making millions of dollars. In fact, Black ones are making more money than white ones."
In this article I wonít try to put a dollar figure on the horrors of the Slave Trade, but as an economist I will try to show you some of the "tricks of the trade" in the modern "Slavery Game". Back in the old days of slavery the slaves would work all day for "massa". Everything that they would produce would go to massa. However, massa would allow them to have a little plot of land to grow enough vegetables and a few hogs so that the slaves could keep themselves fed. Massa would also allow the slaves on their own time to make for themselves some clothes to wear and build for themselves a shack to live in.
Now of course, black people work in many different jobs and get a salary. They use their salaries to buy clothes, cars and homes. Therefore they are free right?
Letís make a simple economic world of "Xís" and "Oís". And letís say that to have a descent way of life you need at least one "X" and one "O". In the old slavery world, the slaves had to make an "X" and an "O" for massa and then after working for him they had to work overtime if they wanted an "X" or an "O".
Now today letís say that black people make "Xís" and white folk make "Oís". Letís assume that it takes the same amount of resources and time to make both "Xís" and "Oís". In a "perfect" world the Blacks could make two "Xís" and the whites two "Oís". They would trade with each other on equal terms and trade one "X" for one "O", leaving both of them with one of each, perfect.
However, letís say that the Whites control the "terms of exchange" and demand two "Xís" for each "O" that they make. Now they would trade one "O" and get two "Xís" leaving the Blacks with one "O" and no "Xís". To keep up with the "Jones", the Blacks would now have to go back to work and make another "X" for their family or just do without. Interestingly an article done in the June 7, 1999 Newsweek magazine on the "Status of Black America" revealed that the median income for a family of four for Blacks was $35,000 per year but for Whites was $58,000 per year, or 3/5ths (sound familiar?). Therefore, to live the same lifestyle would require almost twice as much effort. Or in other words, white folks, as a group, are getting 40% more for their labor just because they are white. This is a form of modern slavery.
However, when you look at the real criteria for evaluating wealth, net assets (equity), each individual black person owns 1/7th the amount of equity of their white counterparts (see: http://www.muhammadfarms.com/News-Apr1-7.htm#Black-White_wealth_gap). In other words, many black people work hard all their lives but wind up with nothing and that my friend is the life of a "slave".
Now letís move to the international scene. African countries broke away from their colonial masters and set up "independent" states in the 50ís and 60ís. But white folk came up with this thing called "floating exchange rates" in 1970ís. In 1976 the world went off the gold standard and fixed exchange rates to a system of floating exchange rates. That sounds innocuous enough, "floating exchange rates", but in fact such a system has gone far to "sink" the countries of the "South" into a form of modern slavery.
This is how it works. Letís take one country, Liberia, which I visited in March of 2000. Liberiaís currency is called the "dollar" and since 1940 has had a fixed exchange rate of $1 Liberian to $1 American until 1976. Now with the floating rate, the market exchange rate is $40 Liberian to $1 American. In other words it takes 40 Liberian dollars to buy one dollarís worth of an American product. If Liberians want to buy American, they must sacrifice 40 times as much resources and time as an American. The Liberians, therefore are slaves to America even more than American Blacks.
Of course if Liberia does not buy anything from America, then she would not feel the effects of slavery. However, Liberia was never taught how to produce her own electricity or set up her own tire manufacturing facilities or even make wood veneer from her extensive forests. She has diamonds, but no diamond cutting machines. She has iron, but no steel factories. She produces no cars, ships, airplanes or even household appliances. So if she wants to "modernize" she must accept the position of a slave. She must give away her raw resources and the labor of her citizens to move into the modern era. If she does not move into such an era, then America will rile her citizens up and stage another coup. To ward off a coup, the government spends Liberian dollars or trades diamonds to buy American weapons. So she still is being sucked dry.
Economists and other "word magicians" are brought in to disguise these new "slavery games" under such banners as: "free trade", "global specialization", "fiscal austerity" and "privatization". But the results remain the same, the black group works while the white group gains.
To be fair, not all Whites benefit from these "Slave Games" equally. In fact only a few families have accumulated the wealth of nations. However, Blacks must put the demand on the "white" world in general for reparations. Whites then must sort it out among themselves as to "who" will pay. Maybe a "class action" lawsuit of the poor Whites against the super rich is in order and let the rich pay for their "slavery games" and gains. However, poor whites may have a hard time finding the lawyers who will tackle such a case, since lawyers are usually on the payroll of the super rich.
The Black farmers found that out the hard way and Black America shall soon find out. See "íSnakeí in the Reparationsí Grass": http://www.muhammadfarms.com/Snake.htm