[ExI] What is Meant by "Slavery"?

Stathis Papaioannou stathisp at gmail.com
Thu May 28 13:24:55 UTC 2009

2009/5/28 Lee Corbin <lcorbin at rawbw.com>:

>   "In July 2007, the Brazilian government freed 1,100 laborers
>   who were found working in horrendous conditions on a sugarcane
>   [for ethanol production] plantation... A story by the Associated
>   Press said that the workers were forced to work 13-hour days
>   and that they had no choice but to pay "exorbitant prices for
>   food and medicine..."
>   "According to Land Pastoal, a group affiliated with Brazil's
>   Roman Catholic Church,, about 25,000 workers in brazil are
>   living in slavery-like conditions, most of them in the Amazon...
>   The 2007 raid was not the first. In 2005, 1,000 workers were
>   found living in debt slavery on a sugarcane plantation in
>   Mato Grosso."

Is this a problem in a pure free market, assuming the workers
voluntarily agreed to the contract? It seems that the libertarians on
the list think it is a problem but I still don't see the libertarian
justification for this position. Mirco's point seems to be that debt
slavery is forbidden because people can declare bankruptcy but this
seems to be a government restriction on the operation of the free
market, a tax on those prudent enough not to go bankrupt.

Stathis Papaioannou

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