I am reading the book Capitalism and Slavery: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capitalism_and_Slavery

The author argues that, in a historical context, working a plantation with slaves, in comparison to hired labor, resulted in a faster degradation of soil quality. The reason for this, according to the author, is the lower work motivation of slaves compared to hired labor.

What concrete actions or omissions of slaves or hired workers could lead to this effect? What could be a connection between labor quality and soil quality? Any suggestions are welcome, thanks

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    $\begingroup$ Could you quote the relevant section/passage? $\endgroup$
    – thosphor
    May 13 at 14:21
  • $\begingroup$ It might be a question of how intensively the land was worked under each scenario. Did one scenario have a rotating plot of land that was left fallow for a year, so it could recover? Were other forms of land care or land abuse used? Was a question of greed by the one group & not the other that lead to such practices, if they occurred? $\endgroup$
    – Fred
    May 14 at 7:16
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    $\begingroup$ @Carsten Does the author of this publication propose any mechanism, even if merely speculative, conjectured, or hypothetical, by which "lower work motivation of slaves compared to hired labor ... resulted in a faster degradation of soil quality"? What indicators of soil quality are being considered, and how are they being assessed? I am only familiar with one particular method of assessment, the German Bodenwertzahl. $\endgroup$
    – njuffa
    May 15 at 8:43
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    $\begingroup$ sounds like an unsupported assertion, does the author offer an justification? $\endgroup$
    – John
    May 16 at 0:25
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    $\begingroup$ @John I think that's the point of asking the question here; the OP likely feels the same way, and is curious to find if the assertion can be supported. $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    May 16 at 2:41


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