Beyond Racism and Poverty
Karin Lurvink, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
The truck system was a global phenomenon in the period 1865-1920, where workers were paid through the company store. In Beyond Racism and Poverty Karin Lurvink looks at how this system functioned on plantations in Louisiana in comparison with peateries in the Netherlands. In the United States, the system is often viewed as a 'second slavery' and strongly associated with racism. In the Netherlands, however, not racism but poverty has been seen as the main reason for its continued existence.
By using a variety of historical sources and by analyzing the perspectives of both employers and workers, Lurvink provides new insights into how the truck system worked and can be explained. She reveals how the system was not only coercive but had advantages for the workers as well, which should not be overlooked.