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Slavery is more common when the labor done is relatively simple and thus easy to supervise, such as large-scale growing of a single crop, like sugar and cotton, in which output was based on economies of scale.This enables such systems of labor, such as the gang system in The United States, to become prominent on large plantations where field hands were monitored and worked with factory-like precision.
Thus, first slavery and then serfdom gradually decreased in Europe as the population grew, but were reintroduced in the Americas and in Russia as large areas of new land with few people became available.In a broader sense, however, the word slavery may also refer to any situation in which an individual is de facto forced to work against their own will.Scholars also use the more generic terms such as unfree labour or forced labour to refer to such situations.Economists have attempted to model the circumstances under which slavery (and variants such as serfdom) appear and disappear.One observation is that slavery becomes more desirable for landowners where land is abundant but labour is scarce, such that rent is depressed and paid workers can demand high wages.Although it dominated many societies in the past, this form of slavery has been formally abolished and is very rare today.
Even when it can be said to survive, it is not upheld by the legal system of any internationally recognized government.Examples of sexual slavery, often in military contexts, include detention in "rape camps" or "comfort stations," "comfort women", forced "marriages" to soldiers and other practices involving the treatment of women or men as chattel and, as such, violations of the peremptory norm prohibiting slavery.Forced marriages or early marriages are often considered types of slavery.Similar arguments appear later in the works of Auguste Comte, especially when it comes to Adam Smith's belief in the separation of powers, or what Comte called the "separation of the spiritual and the temporal" during the Middle Ages and the end of slavery, and Smith's criticism of masters, past and present.As Smith stated in the Lectures on Jurisprudence, "The great power of the clergy thus concurring with that of the king set the slaves at liberty.Adam Smith made the argument that free labour was economically better than slave labour, and that it is nearly impossible to end slavery in a free, democratic, or republican form of government since many of its legislators, or political figures were slave owners, and would not punish themselves.