Excerpt from Thomas Sowell's "Black Rednecks & White Liberals". - "The Real History of Slavery" discusses the timeline of abolition of slavery and serfdom. history - In the collection's third essay, Sowell reviews the history of slavery. Contrary to popular impression, which blames Western society and white people as the culprits, Sowell argues that slavery was a universal institution accepted and embraced by nearly all human societies. The world's trade in slaves, then slavery itself, was forcibly abolished by the British in the nineteenth century, against opposition in Africa and Asia where it was considered normal. The economic effects of slavery are also misunderstood, since slaves were often a luxury item whose upkeep was a drain on the rich, and nowhere did the availability of cheap slave labour result in wealthy societies.