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Effective way of dealing with unfree labor (POWs) in modern setting

   
Slave labor is used today all around the world for a variety of things from crops, to sweat shop manufacturing to mining. I work for a company that specifically buys only certain crops from Africa that can prove they were grown with humane labor and those crops cost a lot more than the ones that can't prove it. If the machine for those crops were cheaper, then those growers wouldn't be complaining that no one can buy at their prices.

In America during the times of slavery, there was a practice of using slaves to guard slaves by giving them slight life-style perks and of enacting horrible punishments on those that tried to run.

Using tending to crops as an example. You could buy a giant expensive machine that likely requires hiring a trade worker that knows how to run it, pay for the gas, pay for maintenance. Or you take 100 of these POW's, put them in chains, feed them gruel, and have a few of their own watch them.

Yeah, but it's harder to get fuel in some parts of Africa, and the security situation there means you might have people stealing or sabotaging your equipment. Hence why for some parts of the world, slave labor IS hands-down the cheapest way to do things.

The nation for this thought exercise is a highly-developed country with a good infrastructure, so fuel is cheaper, mechanics are more plentiful, and you don't have to worry about bandits armed with AK-47s coming to steal your machines. It may still be cheaper to use slave labor, but since none of the technologically advanced countries in our world allow slavery, there's no way to tell.

Machines are certainly cheaper than non-slave manual labor, though.

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Originally Posted by djdemiko View Post
Slave labor is used today all around the world for a variety of things from crops, to sweat shop manufacturing to mining. I work for a company that specifically buys only certain crops from Africa that can prove they were grown with humane labor and those crops cost a lot more than the ones that can't prove it. If the machine for those crops were cheaper, then those growers wouldn't be complaining that no one can buy at their prices.

In America during the times of slavery, there was a practice of using slaves to guard slaves by giving them slight life-style perks and of enacting horrible punishments on those that tried to run.

Using tending to crops as an example. You could buy a giant expensive machine that likely requires hiring a trade worker that knows how to run it, pay for the gas, pay for maintenance. Or you take 100 of these POW's, put them in chains, feed them gruel, and have a few of their own watch them.
You are comparing a case of Africa where capital is expensive, while labour is cheap. Here we have prices set by inexpensive capital and expensive labour force. Yes, you exactly described the problem here - work of 100 slaves (even if they can guard each other) would be at most worth work of a few free and trained workers (the tractor driver and sum of work of all people in industrial sector whose job was to produce this tractor and its fuel). If you have to keep a few normal guards just in case it would not be worth the effort.

Maybe that's a bad approach? [Partially ironic]Maybe the question is how to make them supervised in automatic way while they mown grass in parks? [/Partially ironic] Which works are:
- labour intensive even with high tech;
- workers are not given any equipment that can be turned in to serious weapon; (axe is ok)
- they are not given a chance to break something expensive, if they do so that would be blatantly obvious and they can be punished accordingly;
- they can not do any harm to civilians;
- easy in monitoring?

What about harvesting white asparagus or collecting strawberries? Cutting down trees? Filleting fishes?

All free range work done with some monitoring device. If a person succeeds in removing the device - fair game.

All work in a small facility could be video recorded. ISO 1984 procedures - in case of any quality problems watch the films and punish severely saboteurs or slackers.

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Side "B" - Tribal theocracy with dream of world conquest, lags terribly in tech, lacks serious industrial base, thus prefers infantry but can mobilize gigantic, fanatic armies and continue fight even after absorbing huge damage.
Why would they prefer infantry? Even ancient world armies had cavalry and artillery. If it dreams of world conquest, you could make it resemble ancient persia or greece or rome or egypt or babylon in some manner (or all of them). I just beat age of empires 1 (on easy, because I own), so maybe that's why I feel like suggesting this.

For the record - The only useful infantry I found in AoE in bronze age are heavy infantry (hoplites in-game; which I think were only really greek spartan/athens even though every race in-game uses them), though any empire could devise any sort of heavy infantry with pre-industrial tech if you're feeling creative. The idea behind pre-industry is that literally any variety can come up, since multiple cultures develop and there's less unity because there's less communication and the world feels larger, etc., etc.

In iron age, you can get longswords, but it's very easy to make the transition to phalanx (the best heavy infantry), and cavalry become heavy cavalry and some races can upgrade further to cataphracts (the byzantines used cataphracts, which were heavily armored cavalry that would often charge in and hit and run, I think?). Mounted/Horse archers reign supreme against pretty much everything except buildings, above composite bowmen (longbows don't exist at all throughout most of the world), and artillery consists of ballistae, helepolis (some sorta ballistae that shoots a lot faster in-game), and stone throwers (bronze age catapults) and heavy catapults, which are these massive devices that clog up roads like tanks and were probably hell to maneuver (I could imagine them, besides slinging boulders, running through infantry with gravity behind them in a jam; kinda like what chariots did, when they forged spikes to the axels of their wheels, but were horse powered; horse archers are above all this, simply because they are the most maneuverable and supreme at indirect and direct fighting). Villager siege craft assumes the use of a greater variety of siege tools that supposedly comes around during the iron age (presumably, by game mechanics), since it lets villagers do considerable damage to walls and towers. Catapults are very good at devastating clustered infantry (foot missiles such as bow and slingers and sword and boarders like longswords and broadswords, and then cannon fodder such as short swords and axemen). Ballistae are average, but helepolis are amazing against infantry and can even blow away cavalry that get careless.

Presumably, the anicent world employed ballistae in lines against a visible enemy. With luck, they could hault a cavalry charge (provided it's not big, or too heavily armored). If the bow is highly developed (up to longbow or some sort of state of craft crossbow like a chukonu, ie.), infantry can expect to be using massive shields for cover or digging trenches. Cavalry are only employed in such a situation if terrain is willing (they can effectively flank archers behind their cover). Longbows and the like can make the best armor useless, until you get to rennaissance full plate, where forces can last long enough for better flanks and hope to turn the conflict into a slogging fest (during the 100 years war between england and france, there were reports of melee lasting for days; full plate combined with shield is useful, needless to say).

And the second you have gunpowder, ALL those things go out the window.

If there's electronic surveillance, then there's firearms. And I'm sure the tribal side would at the very least have THOSE. Even tradition obsessed japan made THAT conversion by their second legitimate exposure to them.

Easiest way to put them to work is to strap a sensor to them. If the sensor is removed, auto turrets fire on them, not a real great aim, so anyone in the area is targeted, or if the sensor gets too far from a specified point, same thing. No guards, no one but the tender, maybe one man that keeps track of how many laborers are at a specific area. Too many die off, he calls for replacements. No muss, no fuss. The slaves are fed and quartered in a large barracks type building.

Clarification:
side B - is able to produce guns that have comparable level to those from WW2. Mostly armed with hand held weapons, can drag on beast of burden some light artillery. Usually send more men than guns, with assumption that the surviving ones would collect weapons from their killed friends.

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Originally Posted by Silverthorne View Post
Easiest way to put them to work is to strap a sensor to them. If the sensor is removed, auto turrets fire on them, not a real great aim, so anyone in the area is targeted, or if the sensor gets too far from a specified point, same thing. No guards, no one but the tender, maybe one man that keeps track of how many laborers are at a specific area. Too many die off, he calls for replacements. No muss, no fuss. The slaves are fed and quartered in a large barracks type building.
Wouldn't such turrets also damage valuable equipment?

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And the second you have gunpowder, ALL those things go out the window.
And yet it still went through something like 500 years of progress before cartridges were invented. It's still possible to have firearms and everything else is the same because it's pre-industrial still (that's the key word).

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If there's electronic surveillance, then there's firearms.
Unless it's a pacifist society. Anything is possible in fantasy, as long you explain it just enough to allow audience suspension.

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side B - is able to produce guns that have comparable level to those from WW2.
Maybe some explanation for why they can produce this stuff with pre-industrial equipment. Magic may be an acceptable answer, depending on what you're going for.

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Usually send more men than guns, with assumption that the surviving ones would collect weapons from their killed friends.
What kind of society uses so much as meat shields? Orcs? :P

From what you said, it sounds like their tactics only get as complex as a mob. You probably know that pre-industrial societies do have tactics, so now it becomes about creating something more distinct.

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The nation for this thought exercise is a highly-developed country with a good infrastructure, so fuel is cheaper, mechanics are more plentiful, and you don't have to worry about bandits armed with AK-47s coming to steal your machines. It may still be cheaper to use slave labor, but since none of the technologically advanced countries in our world allow slavery, there's no way to tell.
I don't think it's cheaper. I suppose slavery is still possible, but the conditions for slavery would be more acceptable than africa. You don't need full blown heavy industry - slaves can still work small scale industry with affordable power tools (they only cost a few hundred dollars, which is nothing for people that own real estate and make a living off of this stuff). Meaning output is increased meaning an owner can make a living off of less slaves.

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Wouldn't such turrets also damage valuable equipment?
Yeah, if the technology is available, invent a way to instead poison unruly slaves and then a means of disposing the bodies in a safe manner that doesn't corrupt the working conditions of the others.

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Originally Posted by impfireball View Post
What kind of society uses so much as meat shields? Orcs? :P

From what you said, it sounds like their tactics only get as complex as a mob. You probably know that pre-industrial societies do have tactics, so now it becomes about creating something more distinct.
Y'know, the Soviets used that EXACT SAME TACTIC in World War II... and they shot the ones that tried to run instead of fight.

Edit: Also, where guns are concerned, infantry are cheap. You can outfit hundreds of soldiers for the cost of one tank, and they require less maintenance. You don't need mechanics, you don't need fuel, oil, and lubricants... just food, water, and ammo (which you'd need anyways with a mechanized force). Infantry are easy to train and quick to field, too.




 

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