Episode 2: The Economy That Slavery Built

32:55 | Aug 31st, 2019

11 recommendations

The institution of slavery turned a poor, fledgling nation into a financial powerhouse, and the cotton plantation was America’s first big business. Behind the system, and built into it, was the whip. ...Show More


epekilis recommended:Oct 6th, 2019

They used slaves - actual people - as collateral to back up loans, and then package and sell the debt. The majority of America’s early wealth was slaves. I feel like a duck caught in an oil spill.

jnk recommended:Nov 14th, 2019

"The cotton industry is too big to fail" is just omfg. Time isn't a straight line, it's a circle.

samantha recommended:Jan 11th

Had not occurred to me that since loans were taken out against the value of slaves, freeing then would blow up the economy... "Too big to fail" explained so much...

mmJan 11th

@samantha This episode resonated the most with me out of the entire series for exactly the points you made...Humans as commodities...

sjlinquist recommended:Sep 6th, 2019

That silent pause as they thought about how much wealth slavery created... mm.

epekilisOct 8th, 2019

@sjlinquist Yes. That was so poignant.

layne recommended:Sep 19th, 2019

Particularly good episode plus the entire series is monumentally important, excellently produced and enlightening

mmSep 19th, 2019

I really enjoyed this episode too, especially how it tied the slave trade back to contemporary economic issues to show how history seems to repeat itself over and over again.

epekilisOct 6th, 2019

@mm Agreed.

rmmiller364 recommended:Mar 23rd

All Americans need to know about the economics of slavery

adam_p recommended:Sep 9th, 2019

Nikole Hannah-Smith delivers another stunning episode. This one explores the roots of American capitalism and how it's tolerance for inhumanity trace back to cotton plantations, multinational banking and "too big to fail" economics. This is some of the most moving podcasting I've heard.