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Manumission Laws of the Old Testament and phenomena of slavery in the late Chosun

정중호 1

1계명대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

The purpose of this paper is to uncover that Manumission Laws (Exod. 21:2-11; Deut. 15:12-18; Lev. 25:39-46) were practicable laws. For this purpose the present writer analyzed phenomena of slavery in the late Chosun and compared them with economic situation of Israel and Judah. The results of the analysis demonstrate similar elements between Chosun and Israel as following; (1) Marginal benefit of slave owners was decreased because the cost of maintaining slave labor exceeded value of marginal product of slave labor, (2) Slave labor was substituted by free labor through activation of distribution and the market functions, (3)Farmers were poor and became wandering people. So the number of low wage workers were abundant. Especially the results of analyzing Manumission Laws show as follows;(1) Because of treating Hebrew slaves as hired workers and giving gifts after six years service, marginal benefit of slave owners increased, in doing so the value of marginal product of slave labor exceeded the cost of maintaining slave labor. (2) Due to the activation of the distribution system and the market function of Israel and Judah, which are related to sea trade of Pheonicia and international trade network of Assyria, the price of slave was reflected on the markets concurrently and it was easy to find wage workers. (3) Immigrants and refuges were increased because of geopolitical location and frequent coup d’etat. Due to shortage of risk preventing devices under the system of command economy and rent capitalism,farmers were poor and became wandering people. Thus the number of low wage workers were abundant. Therefore Manumission Laws were practicable laws to multiply the economic interests and needs of landowners rather than intended to suggest a mere ideal.

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