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Calculating Reparations: $1.5 Million for Each Slave Descendant in the U.S

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    by Denis Rancourt

    For some descendants of persons held in U.S. chattel bondage, no monetary sum can compensate for the enslavement of their ancestors. However, for those looking for a number, there are various ways to calculate the value of involuntary servitude. Here’s one of them.

     

    Calculating Reparations: $1.5 Million for Each Slave Descendant in the U.S.

    by Denis Rancourt

    This article previously appeared on Mr. Rancourt’s web site, Activist Teacher.

    This calculation includes only the money due to ancestors and their descendants, in terms of the stolen actual labor counted in person-hours.”

    It is not difficult to calculate a MINIMUM amount of monetary reparation due to every single Black slave descendant living today in the USA.

    If we leave out the reparations for physical violence, genocidal stress, inadmissibility to superior social classes, etc., and only take into account the stolen labor, at the today's equivalent minimum wage, then the calculation for the minimum amount due to the descendants of slaves is a simple one, as follows.

    This calculation includes only the money due to ancestors and their descendants, in terms of the stolen actual labor counted in person-hours, based on a minimal economic value of that labor, adjusted at a lowest reasonable rate of interest.

    Every step in the following calculation will use the lowest possible evaluators, such as to produce a MINIMUM amount due.

    In the 70 year period between 1790 and 1860, there were, on average, 2 million slaves at any time in the USA. In the same period the average US population was 14 million.

    Moving forward to 2000, the US population was 309 million, with 40 million slave descendants.

    We adopt the underestimate of 2% for the interest rate to be applied to the stolen income value.”

    To obtain a minimal (under estimated) annual interest rate, we use the population increase from 14 million to 309 million in the 140 years from 1860 to 2000. This gives a population annually growth rate of 2.2%.

    Now capital value increase interest rates in the US have been much greater that the population growth rate. Nonetheless, we adopt the underestimate of 2% for the interest rate to be applied to the stolen income value. We further apply the interest rate starting only in 1860, rather than earlier, thereby making our estimate even more of an under estimate.

    The value of the stolen labor, for the period 1790 to 1860, at today's US minimum wage of $7.24 per hour is as follows. (Note that using today's minimum wage automatically corrects for valuing the historic currency to its present value.)

     

    70 years (1790 to 1860 period only)

    X

    2 million slaves (average number in the period used)

    X

    365 days per year (OK, maybe I should exclude one day off per week?)

    X

    10 hours of work per day (again a minimum)

    X

    $7.25 per hour

    =

    $ 3.7 trillion

     

    Next, I apply the 2% interest rate (compounded annually). This gives a multiplicative factor of (1.02)^140 = 16, for the 140 years from 1860 to 2000. Further compounding could be applied to bring us to the present. (Again, this is a minimum estimate.)

    Compounding to 2000, therefore, gives:

     

    $ 3.7 trillion

    X

    (1.02)^140 (or 16, if you prefer)

    =

    $ 59.2 trillion

     

    The latter one-time payment would be easy for the USA to make, since its annual GDP is $15 trillion. (Think of a wealthy person's annual salary relative to buying a house in a safe neighbourhood.) The USA would not even need to sell any assets to achieve this modest payment.

    For the 40 million Black slave descendants in the US today, the calculated reparation means that US white society owes each and every Black slave descendant a MINIMUM payment of $ 1.5 million, which is long overdue.

    The USA would not even need to sell any assets to achieve this modest payment.”

    After the minimum payment is made, it would be appropriate to calculate and pay the addition reparations that are due.

    My goal here was to show that these calculations are simple and unambiguous. Understanding the calculated minimum allows one to move forward from that established basis, towards a more realistic reparation number. At the very least, each Black slave descendant can legitimately demand $ 1.5 million payable immediately.

    An obvious question that arises from this straightforward calculation is: Why are Black leaders not demanding reparation, as a priority demand?

    Denis Rancourt is a former physics professor at the University of Ottawa, and is the author of the book "Hierarchy and Free Expression in the Fight Against Racism." More essays by this author are HERE.

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    A better idea

    How about revising the old "40 acres and a mule" promise that was (allegedly) made towards the end of the War Between the States?

    Sherman's Special Field Order #15 allocated 40 acres per freedman along the Georgia/Carolina coast.  Later in 1865, the Freedmen's Bureau Acts were also supposed to reallocate land to free blacks.  The Federal government reneged on both promises.

    Why not recreate the Homestead Acts of the 1860's and 1870's?  Give African Americans and Native Americans the right to settle on tracts of 160 acres on what are now "public land" in the Western states, with the same proviso used in the original bills.  Require each settler to build a home and LIVE on the land for a minimum of 5 years before gaining title.  (Likewise, prohibit the sale or transfer of said homestead lands for 10 to 20 years to prevent corporations and banks from buying up the land cheaply and sending folks back to the ghettoes and Reservations)

     

    Bogus!

    Valuing labor performed in the mid 1800's at $7.25 per hour is ABSURD.  No laborer made that much - most made about that much PER WEEK!

    Repeat the calculation using a more realistic (but still generous) figure of $10 per week, and the result is just over $29,000 per descendant.

    Also, claiming that the government can just painlessly shell out $60 trillion is ridiculous.  Where does the author expect that sum to come from? 

    great

    For the 40 million Black slave descendants in the US today,  torrent files the calculated reparation means that US white society owes each and every Black slave descendant a MINIMUM payment of $ 1.5 million, which is long overdue.

    My goal

    My goal here was to show that these calculations are simple and unambiguous. Understanding the calculated minimum allows one to move forward from that established basis, towards a more realistic reparation number.

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    Using $7.25 per hour already includes interest

    Using $7.25 per hour already includes interest.

    The average wage [Not Minimum wage] for a laborer in 1860 was 9.8 cents per hour. Adding 2% Interest for 140 years is $1.57/Hour in 2000. Actual Interest averaged closer to 3%-4% per year yielding $6.14-$23.76/Hour.

    It is simplest just to use the $7.25/Hour and exclude interest since it is already included in the $7.25 figure.

    The 2% per year is population growth but this should not be included [Having more kids does not increase the amount you can leave in inheritance but merely divides it over a larger population]

    Also from what I could find the average cotton picker worked ~3,100 Hours per year [or approximately 60 hours/week x 52 weeks per year] not the 3,650 you assumed. [The average Jamaican sugar worker was ~4,000 hours/year but US conditions were better]

    Thus the more accurate figure is 3.068 Trillion. [1.950 Million Slaves x 70 years x 3,100 hours/year x $7.25/Hour] This is $78,800 per living African American [2010].

    On to this you would need to add taxes [~25% federal plus state/local/FICA…] and apply a generational discount rate to weight for the dynamic situation [IE to account for the proper share afforded the multiple living generations of grandparents, parents and kids as well as to kids & grandkids not born yet]

    In reality the rate is closer to $15,202/Living African American [or ~1% your amount][I know this is kind of insulting but a laborer at minimum wage will not be able to leave $1.5 million to each of their 10.9 average descendants]

    The author of this article is a racist

    Don't be fooled by this guy. He is a racist (which is redundant because he is a white Euro-peon) Hey Mr. "I did some really smart calculations in five minutes to solve the problem of reparations", we don't need you to chastise our mis-leaders, we are doing that just fine. I am so tired of these wannabe bullsh*t professors and Euro-Canadian so-called anti-racists. They make me want to puke.

    Hey, Mr. "I'm gonna end white supremacy with math", Look for some other natives to save. White "anti-racists" think they are the new saviors of Black people and if you challenge them, they can't stand any critique of their lily-white "I'm a good guy" bullsh*t propaganda.

    Troll Alert...Troll Alert....

    ...that is all..

    False assumption about "Jews."

    Your bias is showing.

    Jews never ran the slave trade.  No doubt there were a few Jewish folk in Africa, Europe, and the Americas who were involved in some way during the past five thousand years of recorded history, but it is patently absurd to believe that an underclass that has been repressed, enslaved themselves, and persecuted in every nation since Judea first fell to an invader managed to "control" a global business.

    The Greeks took slaves (mostly other Greeks and Europeans, a few Asians) and sold humans to buyers all around the Med.  The Romans were very active in taking slaves in their military and economic campaigns, yet many of their slaves were Europeans, Arabs, and North Africans (not "black") as well as Asians, Persians, Turks, etc.  

    In Africa?  Blacks enslaved other Blacks, in thousands of years of tribal conflict.  Blacks enslaved Brown humans, North Africans (whites and Arabs), and Europeans that were captured in battle.  Slavery was common to EVERY civilization, to include China and other Asian cultures (such as the Mongols, the Huns, the Turks, Persians, and the wide variety of tribal groups that have lived for millenia in the area we now call India and Pakistan).

    The biggest slave culture on the planet?  ISLAM.  Under the Koran, Mohammed decreed that followers of Islam were free to conquer and enslave ANY human who was not Muslim, not Christian, and not Jewish.  All others were "infidels" and pagans, open to conquest and slavery for life under the Koranic whips and chains.

    Muslims of dozens of countries took slaves from non-Muslim tribes, and SOLD their prisoners to European buyers for export to the Americas.  Those traders buying African slaves were Portuguese (no Jews), Spaniards (no Jews) and Dutch (no Jews) at first.  You see, thanks to the Spanish Inquisition following the expulsion of Islam from the Iberian peninsula (modern Spain and Portugal), all Jews were exterminated from Spanish territory (which included modern-day Holland and Belgium).

    In the US, you need to re-check your facts.  The first recorded slaveholder in Virginia was... Anthony Johnson, a Black man, a native-born African (from Angola) who was originally brought to Jamestown by the Dutch, and who served as an indentured servant before obtaining his freedom.  

    http://slaverebellion.org/index.php?page=the-black-slave-owners

    Wasn't Johnnie Cochran working on reparations..

    before he died? Perhaps that is why no one else has stepped up to the plate? That mysterious & apparently contagious cancer seems to be making it's rounds in certain leftist circles..Hmmm...most curious..ft. detrick must be really busy.

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