Caribbean reparations, payable by the U.K.?

by Walter Olson on October 23, 2013

An “international legal fantasy,” as one observer puts it. [New York Times; earlier on Haiti and France; more on reparations]


1 colin 10.23.13 at 3:27 am

I trust that if there is a successful claim, then the UK can offset the costs of the Royal Navy anti piracy patrols since 1807. It’s often overlooked that there was a significant campaign for many years – it tends to get overshadowed by the Napoleonic fleet actions.

2 Shtetl G 10.23.13 at 12:55 pm

I’m still waiting for my reparations from the Egyptian government for my family building the pyramids.

3 Jack Olson 10.24.13 at 9:40 am

Shtetl, Jews did not build the Egyptian pyramids. They were already built before the Jews went to Egypt as famine refugees. Also, they were built by paid labor, not forced labor. Finally, if you think today’s Egyptians owe you reparations for slavery and genocide, you’ll have to subtract what you owe them for poisoning the Nile, filling the country with frogs, gnats, flies and locusts, animal diseases and human boils, darkness, hail, and killing off the first born son of every Egyptian family along with first born livestock. You could, I suppose, argue that these were acts of God so He is the one who ought to pay. But, as for the pyramids, one can historically quote a community organizer in saying, “You didn’t build that.”

4 Shtetl G 10.24.13 at 1:25 pm

Sorry Jack, I’m going to have to call BS on your analysis of my case. Allow me to refer you to the Maxwell House Haggadah:

Twice a year my family consults this sacred legal document and it clearly proves the forced labor that my family was subjected to. In fact I consider you attack on my claim a form of abuse and will now ask for treble damages plus 4000 years of compound interest.

5 Jack Olson 10.24.13 at 5:34 pm

Shtetl, if the original principal was $2,500 (Egyptian minimum wages were pretty low in Bronze Age times) and the interest rate were 3% per annum, my financial calculator computes your claim at $5.58 times ten to the 54th power. It gives a whole new meaning to the term “pyramid scheme.” But, even if you could find some mass tort lawyer to demand this hefty claim, don’t you realize how little you would collect? He’d settle it for $1.25 times ten to the 45th power, claim 99.9999999% of it as his fee, and you’d get a coupon for a discount on the purchase of your next pyramid.

6 TexJudge 10.24.13 at 7:40 pm

For several years a group of leftwing academics, some but not all Black, have been agitating for slavery reparations in the US. This is of course absurd. For one thing, a lot of Black Americans have no ancestors who were enslaved. Some are descended from freed persons, some are descendants of immigrants from Africa and the islands who came here well after slavery was abolished in 1866. There are also tens of thousands of Black immigrants. How would one determine eligibility for reparations and who would make the determination. Finally, most White Americans have no descendants who owned slaves or are descendants of folks who came here well after slavery’s abolition. Why should they be liable?

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