Why didn’t African princes benefit from slavery?

Fascinating history lesson from a pseudonymous friend:

People often ask why Europeans profited so much from the slave trade but not the African princes who sold Men like cattle**?

The reason is that it took our princes more than two and a half centuries to accept developments in the theory of money and for these theories to proliferate. Thus, even as the world changed around them and the competition for slaves broke the Portuguese and then Spanish monopsony’s over the trade, the prevailing theories of money on the Guinea Coast barely felt a dent. The African princes preferred not coin or gold but exchanges in kind. They battered ivory, gold and humans for technology, fabrics and beverages. These exchanges obeyed certain ratios that endured for more than two centuries. Attempts to convert some of the more influential princes to coinage and the like failed. In any case it was not in the interest of the Europeans who subscribed to an entirely different theory of money to disabuse these princes of their traditions. (Here I must add that those Europeans who attempted to pay slave traders not in kind, i.e according to the established commodity ratios were often rebuffed or met with suspicion). In this manner, items that were almost worthless in Europe due to improvements in technology and production could still command very high “prices” in Africa because our princes preferred to batter.

If you are thinking that the Africans were thus cheated, you know nothing. In fact you re less than a fool. (Have you perhaps been reading too many marxists and afrocentrists?) The real looting and “underdevelopment” began the day the Europeans convinced Africans to accept fiat (i.e. to work and pay taxes in a coin controlled by Europeans).

** The alternative to slavery under some circumstances was human sacrifice.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.