Firebird766 (firebird766) wrote in little_details,

Economics and Slavery

I'm designing a country, let's call it A, that's in the process of shifting from a slave society to a non-slave society as a result of shifting economics rather than a moral or other push towards legal reform. It's been this way for a while, and it's been a gradual enough change that the only resistance has been from members of nobility who don't want to change the family lifestyle, and from a few legal officials who are concerned about what the dropping cost of a human means for the local black market in human souls. There's also some concern from the neighboring country, B, which is far more invested in slavery and has considerably more rigid customs, and is worried about their own slaves devaluing. But by and far, there haven't been any major upsets yet.

The story takes place after a major upset does occur. Something happens in Country A which causes an economic collapse. The cost of a slave becomes less than the cost of feeding and housing them. Work becomes scarce, the black market in human souls explodes as desperate people resort to desperate measures. Country B closes its borders to all except officials and slave-traders.

This is all background. The story I'm developing starts when my main character and her husband sell themselves into slavery to Country B so that their children can be raised by citizens, as citizens. But first I need the background to make sense.

I need two things. One, is a reason for the original gradual shift for Country A. And two, is a reason for the economic crisis. I don't really have a head for economics, and Google has been helpfully directing me to a multitude of articles on the American Civil War and abolishionism in general instead of anything I can use for this.

For the gradual shift, I had initally thought it could be because of something similar to the Industrial Revolution, but I realized that that would trend more explosive than gradual. And for the crisis, it kinda seems like it would have the opposite effect. Not something that would really fit for the story.

Search terms: Economics of slavery, ending slavery -america, driving societal change, how societies change, economy slave society, industrial revolution, economics of industrial revolution

EDIT: Okay, so it looks like my best bet would be the mechanisation of cereal crops followed by a blight of those same crops, with other complicating factors as needed.

Thank you for all your help! Though, I'll still be looking at other suggestions, so feel free to keep contributing if you want!
Tags: ~economics (misc), ~servants/slaves, ~worldbuilding

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