Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Child labor and Globalization

I support child labor in 3rd world countries because I think it is a better alternative than prostitution, starvation, and subsistence farming. People who think we should ban imports from countries or companies utilizing child labor need to realize that their perceived moral high ground comes at a tremendous cost, and that cost is to condemn 3rd world children and the families they belong to, to a worse fate than the one they currently face.

Take for example, in the 1990s, it was found that Bangledeshi factories were using child labor to produce clothing for Wal-Mart. In light of this fact legislation was proposed in the US to ban imports from countries utilizing child labor. According to Paul Krugman, "The direct result [of the proposed legislation] was that Bangladeshi textile factories stopped employing children. But did the children go back to school? Did they return to happy homes? Not according to Oxfam, which found that the displaced child workers ended up in even worse jobs, or on the streets -- and that a significant number were forced into prostitution." [1]

Obviously these children (and their families) were made significantly worse of as a result of the movement to ban imports from countries utilizing child labor yet opponents of child labor will sleep soundly believing they have somehow made those children's lives better off. People need to realize that children work in poor countries because their economy is so unproductive that it takes an entire working family to sustain itself. Contrary to what opponents of globalization and capitalism would have you believe, poor countries need more economic freedom, not less. As workers become more productive and subsequently earn higher wages, and as the economy becomes more productive leading to higher purchasing power for all, only then will families will be able to withdraw their children from the work force. It is no coincidence that the most economically free countries have the least amount of child labor and the most unfree countries have the most amount. [2]




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