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Cul de SacPatrimony, Capitalism, and Slavery in French Saint-Domingue$
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Paul Cheney

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780226079356

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226411774.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2019. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 13 October 2019

Production and Investment

Production and Investment

Chapter:
(p.42) Chapter Two Production and Investment
Source:
Cul de Sac
Author(s):

Paul Cheney

Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226411774.003.0003

This chapter examines the division of labor and the process of sugar production on the plantations of Saint-Domingue. Plantations like the Ferron de la Ferronnays operation on the Cul de Sac plain had a contradictory set of imperatives: they existed to produce specialized crops for sale on world markets, which precluded the production of subsistence crops; at the same time, they had to hedge against the ever-present possibility that warfare or meteorological crisis would temporarily shutter world markets to them. This fact dictated a less technologically dynamic, more labor-intensive pattern of investment. The eighteenth-century plantation was poised between two forms of organization: it resembled the nineteenth century factory, but in other respects it resembled a much older social form: the latifundia of the ancient world, which were organized around the need for self-sufficiency and stability that the plantations of the Antilles rarely achieved.

Keywords:   sugar cultivation, sugar refining, infrastructure, management, irrigation, soil fertility, specialization, rationality

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