MAGGIE PAGANO: legacy and shame of slavery haunts the FTSE 100

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When the british government abolished slavery in 1833, about 47,000 people involved in the slave trade, have been awarded compensation for the “goods” that they had lost abroad.

The goods in question were in reference to men, women, and children they owned them as slaves, and plantations.

To compensate for their loss of slaves, the United Kingdom has paid £ 20 million – or about 2.4 billion pounds sterling, adjusted to today’s prices – and was financed by borrowing.

An illustration showing the slaves on board a slave ship out. When the british government abolished slavery in 1833, about 47 000 people have been awarded compensation for the “goods” that they had lost

The debt has been repaid in 2015. Academics of University College London have created a database that follows the owners of slaves who have benefited from it.

Many of them had links with or have founded some of the largest companies in the Uk, including Greene King, P&O, RSA Insurance, Barclays and the Bank of England.

The sums paid must not be éternuées: Benjamin Greene, founder of the chain of breweries and pubs, Greene King, has received nearly 500000 £ in money today when it sold the rights to three plantations in the west Indies.

Simon Fraser, one of the founding members of the insurance market Lloyd’s of London, has received nearly 400 000 £ to dispose of an estate in Dominica.

The Bank of England apologized for its role in the removal and transportation of thousands of slaves, promising to remove the portraits of those who are involved in this ” party unacceptable to the English history “.

Greene King and Lloyd’s of London have also quickly apologized for their role in the past in the slave trade after the publication of the news of their links.

They have offered to repair their inheritance of slaves, stating that they would finance projects to help the Blacks and other ethnic minorities. They have reason to do so and to have responded as quickly.

The cynical might say that they have done this to avoid any damage to the brand if these same protesters who had shot and killed the statues of slave owners were to boycott their pints or their insurance services.

This opinion seems unfair. The boss of Greene King, Nick Mackenzie, really seemed mortified by the past “inexcusable” of the brewery.

More effectively – and more importantly for future generations – he said that the company website would be updated to include the story of its founder owner of slaves.

Contrition similar has been shown by Lloyd’s of London, and the insurer will also contribute to charitable organizations. But banks, who also have links with the slave trade – Lloyds, RBS, HSBC and Barclays – have not yet commented on the report of the UCL.

Many will wonder where will lead us this thirst for raking in the story. Each business in Great Britain, which existed at the time of the facts, should it browse through its archives to see what is buried?

There are all sorts of skeletons that they would prefer not to come out of the closet. The fortune of many of our ancestors of the victorian, was built on the labour of women and children in the workshops of the industrial revolution. Should we compensate their families?

And what about the transgressions of recent?

The list of companies in the not too distant past is long: the giants of the clothing industry that made fortunes in the factories of sweating in Asia, banks such as HSBC laundering money for drug lords, or mexican Standard Chartered channeling funds to Hezbollah.

Should they repay their victims – assuming that they can be identified?

Will there be boycotts as there has been of Barclays in the 80s because of apartheid in South Africa? That is the purchase of oil from the rich States of the Middle East who have stopped slavery before the 1960’s?

When people drive their Porsche, are concerned about the nazi past of its founder? These are sensitive issues.

This is not a derogation but a way for companies to look at the past is to identify if there are direct victims or the heirs of such victims. If yes, do their repairs.

If Lloyd’s and Greene King, which now belong to the richest man in Hong Kong, Li Ka-Shing, want to give something in return, it is well.

What is more important is that they spend wisely their money in charity for those who are really disadvantaged.

The money should be used to help those who face barriers because of their race and of their deprivation. Otherwise, the parties should apologize and move forward.

Signs of a rebound

The Bank of England has acted quickly to inject £ 100 billion extra in the economy after the shocking figures of the GDP from April, the biggest one-month drop ever recorded.

Policy makers voted 8-1 to increase the size of the bond purchase program but also to maintain the interest rate at a record low of 0.1%.

It would be stupid to be too cheery, but the Bank has also stated that the latest demand figures were not as “negative” as expected.

Translated into the jargon of ordinary, it seems that the British have rediscovered the shopping and the spending figures for may and June are better than what one could hope for.

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