Military Conscription, Slavery and the Modern State

Although illegal “human trafficking” still exists, there are no modern, internationally recognised states that either condone or allow slavery, i.e., allow human beings to purchase, own, sell or use other human beings as they see fit. Thus, traditional slavery can safely be called a relic of the past. Or can it? That is to say, does a system still exist in which human beings are forced, on pain of death, to follow the orders of other human beings (their "superiors"), even to the point of killing, or being killed by, still other human beings with whom they are unacquainted? The answer is, of course, yes, such a system presently exists (or has a legal basis to exist) in many countries of the world. The name of this system is “military conscription”. This presentation explores the history and present-day structure of military conscription in comparison with traditional slavery, seeking to discover what, if anything, is the difference between them.

Image | Boston Public Library

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Posted by IAFOR