I think there is a continuum of cruelty. But cruelty may be the wrong word; if I stick to the letter C I might pick coldness or convenience. It’s about whether other people are real or not. Dehumanizing begins in a perception and then reveals itself in actions. I’m starting in the coldest spot I can find and working toward “room temperature” because of the perspective it offers.

Murder is scorn for the very existence of another. It may be for hate or profit or amusement but the exchange is based on a “good for me” foundation that takes EVERYTHING from the other for our profit. Raymond Chandler said that murder was “infinite cruelty” because you aren’t just taking everything a person has, you are taking everything they ever would have had. Whether it’s a robber in an alley or a spouse killing because divorce is too hard, it comes to the other being an inconvenience. This has to be because the other person is already seen as “something in the way”. 

 Slavery is scorn for the life and aspirations of another. It is based on a “good for me” foundation that takes everything from the other while harnessing their energy and abilities for our profit: Essentially it is a form of parasitism. Slavery is “murder lite”. If murder is “infinite cruelty” then slavery must be only a certain number of steps removed. They are visible on the same spectrum of coldness. You have taken what they had and what they would have had, but left them alive to see the sky and think their thoughts. 

Engineered poverty (economic structures purposefully stacked against the poor) is scorn for the life and aspirations of another. It is based on a “good for me” foundation that takes most of a person’s life and abilities for our profit. Engineered poverty is “slavery lite”. It makes the virtual slave into an autonomous unit of money production. The former slave master can relax because the well being of the virtual slave is no longer their problem. 
The civil war was a failed attempt by the southern 1 percent  to retain an outmoded technology (slaves) and the eventual forced upgrade to slavery lite. In slavery lite, slaves pay for their own food, lodging and medicine. Slavery lite has succeeded to such an extent that it covers all of America and all races. Approximately 20% of Americans are trapped there now. 
Slavery lite as an inescapable condition for more and more Americans is the goal of the current 1%. That’s what they want for this country. 
The thread can be traced back through our history to the simple fact of scorn for the life of another for our profit.