The choice of priorities facing Southern farmers and Planters was between but sweet of Maximum profit, with the attendant risks, and the achievement of Greater security by concentrating first on substance subsistence farming, and then in addition growing some cotton for cash. Northern counterpart, whose cash crops, such as wheat were also Food crops. However hard the times, the southern farmer could not eat cotton or feed it to the Hogs. It is surely impossible to make if fear and Illuminating comparison between a large-scale planter with 50 or a hundred slaves producing cotton for export, and the characteristic Northern Family Farm employing little if any labor outside the family and producing a variety of cereal and animal products, with the prospect of selling any surplus on the open market. The two operations are different in scale, structure, and purpose – and in their social and economic context. Comparison between southern slave labor and Northern wage labor is not possible and not valid historically – because there was hardly any wage labor on Northern Farms. The answer lies in the chronic and desperate shortage of farm labor for hire in the North and Northwest. Land was abundant, and most men aspired to be Farmers rather than Farm Workers. The size of the family farm was limited by the amount of Labor the Family itself could provide. In the south, the presence of slavery altered the whole position semi the farmer or plantar could parties as many slaves as financial resources permitted.
How hard did slaves in fact work?
The view which prevailed for many years was that slaves worked long and hard simply because they were forced to under threat of the lash, but that they achieved no high level of efficiency. In relative terms, low efficiency was made tolerable by the low cost of slave labor.
role of incentives- a garden plot, permission to sell produce from it, extra holidays or passes to leave the plantation, and even money payments and crude profit-sharing schemes. But he sees incentives as but one weapon- and a subsidiary one- an armory of slave control which included firm discipline, demonstrations of the master’s power (symbolized by the whip), and the inculcation of a sense of slave inferiority.
Far from being lazy or incompetent, slaves were, they argued, more efficient and industrious on average than their free counterpart.