The Economist reconsiders reconsideration of slavery

The Economist today took down the book review that suggested that slavery had its good points.

In an editor’s note, The Economist acknowledged it shouldn’t have been posted, and then reposted the review “in the interest of transparency.”

Apology: In our review of “The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism” by Edward Baptist, we said: “Mr Baptist has not written an objective history of slavery. Almost all the blacks in his book are victims, almost all the whites villains.”

There has been widespread criticism of this, and rightly so. Slavery was an evil system, in which the great majority of victims were blacks, and the great majority of whites involved in slavery were willing participants and beneficiaries of that evil.

We regret having published this and apologise for having done so. We have therefore withdrawn the review, but in the interests of transparency the text remains available only on this special page and appears below.

Unexplained in the note, however, is an explanation of where the editor was when he/she/it allowed it to be posted in the first place.

  • Dina

    Where was the editor when it was posted? The editor was behind the barn. (How’s that for transparency?)

  • gManiPhone

    on the other hand, their positive spin on slavery has created one of the greatest Twitter hashtags of all time #economistbookreviews

  • John Peschken

    i don’t quite get what all the fuss is about. Is anyone shocked that slavery had a net positive effect on the southern economy? The price in suffering and injustice far outweighs that, of course.

  • Moffitt

    This isn’t the first time a (presumably) white conservative has been tripped up by the myth of the “happy, contented slave.” Don’t get your history lessons from watching “Gone with the Wind,” folks.