Guest post: We like to believe in the just world

Originally a comment by guest on Over in seconds.

Chipping in late, as I was away :)

The issue of slavery as a generator of wealth (which provides the ability to take advantage of ‘innovation’) has been considered at least since the 1960s.

Research is still ongoing – the initial findings of the Legacies of British Slavery project give the subject a surprisingly superficial treatment.

But I and others beg to differ – there is a lot more to say about the magnitude and direction of the ‘giant pool of money’ from slavery ‘compensation’ funds suddenly available for private investment in the 1830s. I believe a young man named David Turner is currently working on this.

With respect to the United States, a series of books was published in the last couple of decades overturning the ‘progressive industrial North vs backwards rural South’ story we learned in history class; in my opinion this is the best of these.

We, particularly the English, like to believe in the just world – that we’re more successful on the global stage because we’re just innately smarter, more imaginative, more hard-working and more willing to take high-stakes risks than the rest. But to me it seems pretty clear that we’re more successful because we’re uniquely unethical. I personally believe that has to do with Protestantism, but I’m certainly open to other explanations.

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