Among other things, these slaves produced a range of pleasant commodities for our ancestors to enjoy -- tasty sugar for cakes and rum, lovely soft cotton for bed linens and clothing (sometimes dyed to a beautiful blue color with the indigo that the slaves had also grown), and heavenly tobacco for our ancestors to smoke and snort. Along the way,
By the time the Transcontinental Railroad needed to be built, slavery had been abolished and most slave descendants were kept “slaving away” in barely-paying, back-breaking jobs such as sharecropping. Ever inventive, American businessmen imported laborers from
When the Transcontinental Railroad was finished in 1869, the Chinese simply weren't needed anymore. We made up our minds to decide that they were a threat to us and had our Congress pass the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882. This blocked further Chinese immigration for the next sixty one years.
We shunned the Chinese until World War II, but then, because they hated the Japanese at least as much as we did, we decided they could be our friends. Congress repealed the Chinese Exclusion Act in 1943, and a select number of immigrants from
From the upper class to the very poor, we Americans are addicted to the "high" we get when we consume the products and services that cheap labor provides to us. We have a four-hundred-year-old history of this habit -- in evidence today with the tons of crap that we feel compelled to buy and our insatiable lust to indulge ourselves in personal services, not to mention our massive out-of-control credit card debt and a planet that we have damaged. We just can't stop.
Our demand for cheap things and services that we require in order to find “happiness” is more than enormous. For example, there was a time only a couple of decades ago, that nail salons did not exist on every corner in our cities and suburbs. Even among upper middle class women, having a professional manicure was done fairly infrequently. Now, all social classes can afford frequent professional manicures from, and are dependent on getting them done by, mostly young Vietnamese women who file nails and inhale the stinky dust for cheap. Walk-in closets in the bedrooms of modest homes, once built only in mansions, are becoming standard features because they are essential to so many of us. We have to store all that stuff somewhere!
With our intense cravings, we are on a perpetual search to find a new substance (provided by cheap human capital) that will supply our "fix" and give us that blissful high. As with drug addictions, I am certain that brain scans would reveal that this response is an actual chemical phenomenon. I can feel it when I shop.
We constantly need to keep the “drug” cheap enough so we can buy it and still afford to overeat the way we like to do. We absolutely must have cheap labor. With our current set of social values, it is non-negotiable.
The problems arise when we have to face the fact that our cheap labor is human, and that they actually have human needs that have-to-be-met. Then we end up feeling resentful and pissed off towards them!
Those of us in mainstream
Since we’ll always want someone to clean our toilets and sew the $10 shirts that we "absolutely must have,” and I personally don't think we'll be able to tap into a labor source of little green aliens from outer space anytime soon, cloning might eventually provide the answer for us. We would need to create a smart enough -- but still sub-human -- species that could do all our dirty work like taking care of our homes and our precious offspring for dirt cheap pay.
Other than relying on cloning to solve our problems, there is hope in the efforts of Japanese companies which are developing robots that might do the trick. I saw a piece on TV recently which showed how they’ve created robots that can play the violin! Hopefully they’re also trying to develop robot maids like Rosie who lived with the Jetsons. My kitchen floor is really filthy and it’s way overdue for a good soapy scrubbing.
I recommend that you go to http://www.storyofstuff.com/ and watch the video.