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Chapter 1 examines the relationship between Sylvia Wynter’s pieza conceptual frame—which refers to the mode of domination comprising philosophies, logics, and practices that made the unit of the pieza possible as a standard of exchange for enslaved peoples from the fifteenth-century onward—and concepts such as laboring capacity and labor efficiency index, which emerged as additional tools for the violent abstraction of labor, and were utilized by the Japanese Ministry of Agriculture’s Farm Household Survey starting in the early 1920s. Wynter’s pieza conceptual frame is used to trace how understandings of the human embedded in the conceptual building blocks birthed in the wake of the Middle Passage were baked into categories that enabled Japanese thinkers and policymakers across the political spectrum to understand the economic calculations they were making about wages, labor power, and productivity as entirely separate from compulsion.

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