Well Worth Reading

NOVEMBER 01, 1956

Filed Under : Education, Liberty

The Great Emancipation:

Slavery has been regarded as a necessary and normal institution in nearly every settled society known to history. There is a certain amount of unpleasant drudgery involved in keeping alive; and if there are not slaves to do it, however will it get done? The pre-engineer world could not answer this question. In that world “human slavery dominates the relationship of nation to nation, class to class, man to man, man to woman, creditor to debtor, master to servant, employer to employee, husband to wife and children. It formed the principal commodity of trade, so valuable that it was also the principal cause of war. It darkened not only the acts, but even the thinking of statesmen, politicians, philosophers, humanitarians, and religious leaders.”

Since the time of the Stoics, and perhaps earlier, the West has tried to live with a moral code which has no room for slavery. Nevertheless, slavery existed until the nineteenth century. True, many men released their slaves on grounds of conscience, and a revulsion against the institution grew more widespread with each passing century. But slavery was not eliminated from society until slave labor became economically inefficient. Slaves couldn’t compete with machines, so they were emancipated. Quite a lesson here for the simple moralist!

A fascinating part of this story is given in “The Engineer’s Greatest Achievement” by Crosby Field, the Towne Lecture presented before a meeting of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. A free copy of this scholarly lecture, including an extensive bibliography on the subject, is available to any FREEMAN reader upon request to Crosby Field, Flakice Corporation, 360 Furman St., Brooklyn 1, N. Y.

That Manifesto: In 1848 the communists announced their ten-point program for world revolution. The Party may be out of favor, but people still like its ideas, as Admiral Moreell has shown in his To Communism . . . via Majority Vote. (Copy on request, from THE FREEMAN). Now comes a succinct 16-page analysis of the Manifesto by Peter Steele, Blueprint for World Revolt. Contains a bibliography and a four-point counter-program. For a free copy write to Associated Industries of Missouri, 2031 Railway Exchange Bldg., St. Louis 1, Mo.


November 1956


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November 2014

It's been 40 years since F. A. Hayek received his Nobel Prize. His insights, particularly on the distribution of knowledge and the impossibility of economic planning, remain hugely important today. In this issue, we look back on the influence of his work. Max Borders and Craig Biddle debate whether liberty must be defended from one absolute foundation, further reflections on Scottish secession, and how technology is already changing our world for the better--including how robots, despite the unease they cause, will only accelerate this process.
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