Southern Response to Economic Disparities

jgoodguy

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
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#41
The South could have tried to diversify their economy and even increase manufacturing. The problem was the North held the advantage in manufacturing for reasons the South would have had difficulties profitably competing with. The North held an advantage in raw materials, inexpensive ways to transport the raw materials, skilled workers, liquid financing, and other advantages. Most of the financing in the South was through debt based on slaves with slaves backing the loans. it is uncertain if slave labor could profitably supported manufacturing.

I am not trying to argue about slavery, but slave labor is not as flexible as free labor. A free labor factory gets a big contract, they hire 50 new workers. The contracts dry up and the free labor factory fires 75 workers. A factory using slave labor would need to buy or rent 50 new slaves and then possibly sell 75 slaves when contract dry up, perhaps only needing them back in a couple months.
Slave labor manufacturing had its labor problems, the factory owner had to compensate the owners if leasing or absorb the cost for dead or maimed slaves, if buying, capital went into slaves instead of plant and equipment if leasing the owner of a skilled slave might want more the next contract, or lease that slave to a competitor. The pool of labor shrank during good years as the slaves would be rented to agricultural concerns. You make some good points.
 

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USS ALASKA

1st Lieutenant
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#42
The direct trade conventions of the thirties were in the main what they purported to be, namely, bona fide efforts on the part of Southern men to promote the prosperity and progress of their states and section and particularly, their seaports.
Understood sir. Were any concrete actions spawned from these meetings-of-the-minds in the one region of the country that had the wealth to follow through?

The direct trade conventions accomplished no tangible results in the way of changing the course of Southern commerce.
Sorry sir - you had already addressed it - hadn't gotten that far down the page...
250

Cheers,
USS ALASKA
 
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jgoodguy

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Retired Moderator
Joined
Aug 17, 2011
Messages
35,405
Location
Birmingham, Alabama
#43
But they literally 'bet the farm' on it and didn't seem to have any back-up options.

Cheers,
USS ALASKA
Good point, but it worked for 80 years until a failed politician-dark horse candidate for president whose main qualification was that he had no experience to make folks mad about got elected President.
 



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