Accounting for Slavery: Masters and Management

  • 7h 43m 46s
  • Caitlin Rosenthal
  • Recorded Books, Inc.
  • 2022

The story of modern management generally looks to the factories of England and New England for its genesis. But after scouring through old accounting books, Caitlin Rosenthal discovered that Southern planter-capitalists practiced an early form of scientific management. They took meticulous notes, carefully recording daily profits and productivity, and subjected their slaves to experiments and incentive strategies comprised of rewards and brutal punishment. Challenging the traditional depiction of slavery as a barrier to innovation, Accounting for Slavery shows how elite planters turned their power over enslaved people into a productivity advantage. The result is a groundbreaking investigation of business practices in Southern and West Indian plantations and an essential contribution to our understanding of slavery's relationship with capitalism.

About the Author

Caitlin Rosenthal returned to Harvard for her PhD in history after three years with McKinsey & Company. A finalist for the Nevins Prize in economic history and winner of the Krooss Prize for the best dissertation in business history at Harvard University, she was a Newcomen Postdoctoral Fellow at Harvard Business School and is now assistant professor of history at the University of California, Berkeley.

In this Audiobook

  • Introduction
  • Chapter 1 - Hierarchies of Life and Death
  • Chapter 2 - Forms of Labor
  • Chapter 3 - Slavery’s Scientific Management
  • Chapter 4 - Human Capital
  • Chapter 5 - Managing Freedom
  • Conclusion