Child Labor: An Apologism
Written by Jaimine Blesav Bezboznik.
The “anti-capitalism” mentality must decipher that voluntaryism is the precursor of all things good and humane. Also, economics is about “human actions” only. No matter how far they’re “educated”, but their education is utterly useless without wisdom. It is, nevertheless, good to have common-sense than education. Immoralism ushers in, when these self-claimed “humanity agents” expropriate “others” to pay for the [compulsory] schooling of children in our society. My argument, in this article, in general, is not against education. Instead, I am boldly propagating that violating the volitional jurisdiction of kids and teens, and replacing their sociological space to massage with the liberal’s social egoism is purely amoral in the eyes of nature. On what epistemological grounds, it is necessary for the child to undergo education? On what ontological grounds, it is unnecessary for the child to labor in order to feed himself or its family? On what deontological grounds, it is axiological for the people than parents to decide best for the small ones? I bet; my all these three questions will invite more incoherent and emotional elenchus and nothing else at all.
Deficiency of propertarian principles in my society is one of the influential cause to establish collective stupidity, as it is an asocial norm to talk about axioms of self-ownership. Believe me that a child labor, on the ground, is likely to know more about the world functions than your “schooled” kids. Kids and teens must have a right to autodidact themselves and this gesture will put them on a role which is likely to be more productive than rot system. My friend Marsha Enright authored a coherent analysis of the contemporary education system and ratiocinated the wonders of Montessori model. Well, coming back to the point, there is also a deficiency of catallactic order in our society and therefore it is impossible to behold a society of entrepreneurship. A businessman is likely to be hated than politicians because his income is dependent upon profit than taxation. A businessman prefers efficient laborers and telling him to unemploy small ones is an infringement of his privacy and liberty. What is your business to dictate him on the employment structure of his own organization, when you’re unlikely to look after each and every poor kids of our society using your own pocket? Understand that sometimes a parent who puts a child behind a loom for ten hours a day does so, not out of callous greed, but because this is what brings food to the table. This is called a tangible expression of parental love. OK? Any ban or boycott on oriental rugs, or any other product of child labor, is utterly counterproductive and potentially life-threatening to the very people we are trying to protect. Only “human actions” can improve the lives of these children.
Let’s say you want your computer fixed or your software explained. You can shell out big bucks to the Geek Squad, or you can ask — but you can’t hire — a typical teenager, or even a preteen. Their experience with computers and the online world is vastly superior to that of most people over the age of 30. From the point of view of online technology, it is the young who rule. And yet they are professionally powerless: they are forbidden by law from earning wages from their expertise. Might these folks have something to offer the workplace? And might the young benefit from a bit of early work experience, too? Perhaps — but we’ll never know, thanks to antiquated federal, state, and local laws that make it a crime to hire a kid.
Pop culture accepts these laws as a normal part of national life, a means to forestall a Dickensian nightmare of sweat shops and the capitalist exploitation of children. It’s time we rid ourselves of images of children tied to rug looms in the developing world. The kids I’m talking about are one of the most courted of all consumer sectors. Society wants them to consume, but law forbids them to produce. The government doesn’t seem to mind so much if a kid spends all nonschool hours away from the home, family, and church, but it forbids them from engaging in private-sector work during the time when they would otherwise be in public schools drinking from the well of civic culture. The legal exemption is also made for delivering newspapers, as if bicycles rather than cars were still the norm for this activity.
Child-labor laws were and are a blow against the freedom to work and a boost in government authority over the family. The political class thinks nothing of legislating on behalf of “the children,” as if they are the first owners of all kids. Child-labor laws were the first big step in this direction, and the rest follows. If the state can dictate to parents and kids the terms under which teens can be paid, there is essentially nothing they cannot control. There is no sense in arguing about the details of the law. The critical question concerns the locus of decision-making: family or state? Private markets or the public sector?
In so many ways, child-labor laws are an anachronism. There is no sense of speaking of exploitation as if this were the early years of the industrial revolution. Kids as young as 10 can surely contribute their labors in some tasks in ways that would help them come to grips with the relationship between work and reward. They will better learn to respect private forms of social authority outside the home. They will come to understand that some things are expected of them in life. And after they finish college and enter the workforce, it won’t come as such a shock the first time they are asked to do something that may not be their first choice. We know the glorious lessons that are imparted from productive work. What lesson do we impart with child-labor laws? We establish early on who is in charge: not individuals, not parents, but the state. We tell the youth that they are better off being mall rats than fruitful workers. We tell them that they have nothing to offer society until they are 18 or so. We convey the impression that work is a form of exploitation from which they must be protected. We drive a huge social wedge between parents and children and lead kids to believe that they have nothing to learn from their parents’ experience. We rob them of what might otherwise be the most valuable early experiences of their young adulthood.
In the end, the most compelling case for getting rid of child-labor laws comes down to one central issue: the freedom to make a choice. Those who think young teens should do nothing but languish in classrooms in the day and play Wii at night will be no worse off. But those who see that remunerative work is great experience for everyone will cheer to see this antique regulation toppled. Maybe then the kids of India or any other nation can put their computer skills to use doing more than playing World of Warcraft.
Jaimine is an autodidactic professor based in Mumbai and “voluntarily” proselyting Keynesian students into Rothbardian thinking. Follow him at: https://twitter.com/meritocratic