Slavery in the 1700s
During the late 1700s and early 1800s slaves were allowed to buy their own freedom. They earned money by doing work in excess of what was expected of them. Sometimes they worked for other masters on weekends or engaged in entrepreneurial activities such as fishing or farming.
When those slaves earned extra money, they could have easily spent it buying stuff, but they didn’t. They had a higher goal in mind. They wanted to buy their own freedom.
Here is the story of Venture Smith, a slave who at the age of 31 had saved enough money to buy his own freedom, and 10 years later he had saved enough to buy the freedom of his wife, his son and his two daughters.
Although self-purchase was rare, an 1839 census reveals that 42% of blacks in Cincinnati and Ohio had purchased their own freedom.
It is my belief that today most people live a similar slavery, a wage slavery. Sure, we don’t get beaten by our masters and we don’t suffer physical violence (but we can be put in jail by the tax authorities) but the feeling of slavery is way too similar.
Wage Slavery refers to the circumstances in which a person’s livelihood depends 100% on his salary.
As opposed to the 1700s slaves who were forced into slavery, today’s wage slaves fall into slavery by psychological manipulation. Today’s wage slaves are persuaded to spend money on frivolous things, to buy clothes every season, to buy gadgets every year, to eat in restaurants they can’t afford, to use brand names as a way to signal how unique they are, to buy new cars when an old one would do fine, to live in housing they can’t afford. Today’s slavery is self inflicted. We spend every dollar we earn and then borrow more, we belong to the credit card companies and to the government.
Save to buy our freedom
We are constantly bombarded with all kinds of advertising. We have to buy the new thing to feel unique and special, we deserve it because we are different. But if we take a moment to reflect, we could easily discover that we are being played by corporations and by our governments.
The way to get out of wage slavery is to consume less and invest the savings in a tax efficient manner. We can reduce the power of our two masters, the advertising machine and the government, by saving and investing.
When we reduce our spending and invest our savings, we shouldn’t think of it as deprivation, we should think of it as a method to buy our own freedom.
When we invest our money, our money works for us. Therefore we are not 100% dependent on our salary. At the same time, we can invest it in a way that allows us to pay less taxes.
If slaves were able to buy their own freedom at the end of the 1700s, we can certainly buy our own freedom today.
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