— Co.Design (@FastCoDesign) July 30, 2014
Modern slavery won't -- or doesn't -- have a master in the big house or an overseer with a whip. Modern slavery does its work, at one remove, with bureaucratic institutions responding to the wishes of higher-ups insulated from any reprisal.
The intimacy of Confederate slavery was horrid; one has only to read Jefferson. The coldness of modern slavery is worse. Old-style, intimate slavery was a terrible thing, a sin. It did not "augment the complexity and intensity of the field of intelligent life." This country still suffers its effects.
As we watch modern slavery take root in places like Qatar -- or Thailand -- and see how the global supply chain is stained by it, we should consider whether slavery is something our own elites have in mind for us.
After all, the 0.01% care predominantly for one thing besides their wealth and, sometimes, their dynasties: Cheap servants. Nothing cheaper than a slave. And there's no pleasure to be had in dominating a robot.