debt peonage

debt peonage

a coercive form of labour whereby the labourer is tied to an employer or landholder through indebtedness. It was a common method of ensuring a labour supply in AGRARIAN SOCIETIES until the 20th-century, although in some areas of the THIRD WORLD the practice persists illegally. Various forms of indebtedness were found: landowners sometimes paid taxes for the peasantry, requiring their labour services until payment had been made; sometimes labourers became indebted through transportation costs, such as was the case with Chinese immigrants to the US in the 19th century, when they worked without pay until their transport costs had been deemed to be covered. At its most extreme individuals were never able to work off the initial or subsequent debt which may even have been passed on to descendants. In such cases debt slavery may be the more appropriate term. See PEASANTS, PEASANT SOCIETY, LATIFUNDIUM.
References in periodicals archive ?
Some governors used to engage in massive borrowing from commercial banks at exorbitant rates; leaving their states in a debt peonage. The catalogue of mischief is in endless concentric circles.
What is the World Bank's culpability in the pains suffered by the Filipinos through several decades of debt peonage with the Bank and the western banks?
But, despite legal prohibitions, slavery proved remarkably resilient, with colonists using subterfuges such as debt peonage, "just wars" (which sanctioned enslavement of captured enemies as a more moral outcome than justified slaughter), and other tricks.
"It's a debt peonage system they are never able to extract themselves from," said James Early, a Brazil expert and former director of cultural heritage policy at the Smithsonian Institution and board member of the Institute for Policy Studies.
"in virtual, and sometimes literal, debt peonage." Such workers, he said, "are afraid of being deported into debt, and so can't blow the whistle on unsafe and abusive conditions."
According to Fraga, the plight of debt peonage and crop liens characteristic of black sharecroppers in the US South did not entrap former slaves in northeastern Brazil to the same extent.
(7) Wage advances have also been thought to index a modicum of worker 'bargaining power' as well as various degrees of patronage and dependency--arguments made especially in the so-called 'revisionist' Latin American literature on debt peonage (Bauer 1979: 36; McCreery 1983: 744; Knight 1988: 110; cf.
He refers to "debt peonage," say, in the context of many things we take for granted: such things as "taking on mortgage debt to buy a home" or getting a student loan or automobile loan.
(14) With knowledge of the lives of Africans, both enslaved and free, in colonial Costa Rica, would these West Indians have been better prepared for the historically sanctioned legalized hostility that faced them in the forms of debt peonage, abusive labor relations, living segregation, ID carnets and cedulas which, like the Apartheid system of the South, needed to constantly list, contain, number and hold accountable the "potential" of Blackness through policing and divide and conquer?
Buffeted by outsourcing, unemployment, underemployment, consumer and student debt peonage, underwater mortgages, and the rolling thunder of environmental/climate/resource crisis, the mass of Americans still lead lives of quiet desperation--and it remains mostly quiet because they are diverted from their gnawing anxieties and uncertainties by the toxic glitter of corporate culture, a ceaselessly dripping toxin that mollifies, numbs and stupefies.
Blast Trans-Atlantic slavery, debt peonage, the chain gang, labor exploitation, racial oppression, and land dispossession.
The ultimate expression of one human being's indebtedness to another was debt peonage and slavery, often violently enforced.