Tag: child labor

Legalizing the Use of Child Labor

By TJ Roberts | United States

On May 8th, 2018, the Trump Administration announced their desire to repeal multiple child labor laws. While this is a cause for celebration, he should take it a step further. Trump should aim for the repeal of ALL child labor laws. Government overreach shows itself when it forbids a child from engaging in voluntary trade, or specifically telling them how they can work, for whom they can work, and for how long they can work.

While the masses hold child labor laws as sacred, one of our oldest and most valuable laws, child labor laws are comparatively new. The federal ban on child labor emerged from the 1938 Fair Labor Standards Act (the same act that brought about the disastrous minimum wage), a Depression-era regulation that artificially lowered the unemployment rate, by banning certain classes from working! In a time when people needed work the most, the government made it harder to work and prolonged the depression.

This legislation, however, had little impact in the long haul. By 1930, only 6.4% of minor children between the age of 10-15 actually had jobs, so the 1938 law did nothing more than give the government more control of your life. As a nation, America has been wealthy enough to not need child labor by a considerable margin for years. Otherwise, this law is not only useless, but inherently immoral.

And what of nations/localities that are so poor that they need child labor? Child labor laws won’t stop people from sending their children to work if they absolutely need the money to survive. Child labor laws just make it worse for people as children resort to black market activities (such as prostitution or gang activity). Child labor laws make people more desperate to survive, disproportionately hurting poor communities the most.

In addition, suppose you are a parent. Would you send your 8 year-old child to a sweatshop for an additional $200 per month? I most certainly wouldn’t. I most certainly hope you wouldn’t. There are opportunities that are much better for children, especially as they become more tech-savvy. If a parent would do that, that is a cultural issue, not a political issue.

Child Labor is consensual. A willing child worker applied for a job, and a willing employer hired the child. With this in mind, both parties must believe that this exchange is mutually beneficial. To tell a minor child that they cannot work is to claim that you have the right to violate the property rights of both employer and worker.

This is just another example of the need for freedom of choice. Child labor laws restrict the ability of you to choose what you do with your time. In fact, the government forces children to partake in labor for them through government schools. Horace Mann, the father of the American education system, made it very clear that government schools are not to make good people, but obedient citizens. It is a form of indoctrination that the State compels upon children. It is forced labor, although not “hard” labor.

America is seeing the results of this now. Employers overwhelmingly claim that college grads are unprepared for the workplace, and its no surprise. Government schools force you to consume much of your time focusing on obedience and not innovation. Where critical thinking and soft skills are essential to the workplace, government “education” miserably fails to prepare an individual for a career.

Government-mandated labor, however, has even more dire consequences: the loss of entrepreneurship. Since children have no legal ability to join the labor force, they are encouraged to follow orders, not think for themselves. Kids have been at the forefront of innovation historically, but that has been changing as young people have been forcefully adopted by the State, ripped away from their families that actually want what is best for them. Experience in the workplace is good for people. Child labor laws, however, are disastrous. They are a breach of fundamental liberties.


This post was originally published in LIFE.

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A Response to a Socialist

Joshua D. Glawson | United States

Recently, I wrote a short article critiquing Socialism and Communism. In the response section, a person responded with the following statements (errors are theirs):

“This has a few errors. Capitalism is a hypocritical ideology in its core, if everything is given to the free market, so not everyone can get an education this destroys the argument of “Eh, if you weren’t good in school, you wont be good in the future”. Your point comes about the “more wealth the rich have the better” is wrong, and misleading. There needs to be government interference for this to happen with the social programs that you hate distributing the wealth. Other wise the rich will hoard money with no restrictions and pay less to their employees since there is no interest in supporting the workers. Infact the word you support has been tried out before, in the 1800s, with massive industrial bosses monopolising industry, using child labor and abusing their power, this stems from the fact that the government didnt wish to interefere into the free market. A completely free market will unavoidably colapse into either a monoply or something else. You will also probably refuse to admit that some of the most succesful countries are once with high taxes and societies with not much economic freedom, yet the majority lives well. Compare the average life of a city dweller in the US and Norway, one has to constantly think about his medical insurance bills and if he will have enough capital to pay for his rent, while the other has a more bright life.”

I decided to take the liberty- pun intended- to respond to the typical Socialist reply, and I believe it may help you in your future debates with Statists, Socialists, and Communists. My reply is as follows: 

First, understanding what Capitalism is what it is not is imperative for discussion. Capitalism, as I am describing it, is the free and voluntary exchange of goods and services, i.e. Laissez Faire Capitalism.

The free market does, in fact, solve the establishment of education and can provide it at a reasonable price, as the competition of the marketplace is what drives up sales and profits. E.g. the oldest schools in the US are still some of the top schools in the world and were started by private and/or religious organizations. There are also several developing organizations providing free private education in the US: Free Schools | PrivateSchoolReview.com , Private School May Be Free If You Make Less Than $75,000 | PrivateSchoolReview.com , 8 Colleges Where Students Attend For Free, etc.

Additionally, when a government is coercing people to attend school, it forces education to lose its ‘value.’ A high school diploma means little-to-nothing anymore in the US because so many people have them. This has become such an issue that most employers do not actually check if someone actually has a high school diploma when they check yes in the degree box. Another important principle is that if something “good” is being forced on people, or people are being coerced to do, the good that is done is negated because something done well requires free and voluntary action, not coercion.

Laissez Faire Capitalism has NOT been tried in the US, and I am sad to say that it has not been fully implemented in any country-wide economy. What has been tried is near-Capitalism, where there are mixed economies and approaches to attempt more market freedom. What we do know is that the closer we are allowed to move towards Capitalism, the better off the majority of people are, and in the long run everyone is better off.

Monopolies come in four main categories, not just one. There are geographic monopolies, where simply due to their location almost everyone purchases from the supplier; technological monopolies are where an organization excels in technological advancements when compared to their competitors, and this gives them the  edge for monopolizing the marketplace; natural monopolies are completely free and voluntary, there just are not any direct competitors yet in the market; lastly, government monopolies are coercive powers that only exist because of government influences and protection by government with the threat of fines, prison, garnishments, removal of property, and up to death for those that dare to compete against the coercive monopoly assisted by government. This is important to distinguish, because Laissez Faire Capitalism, in its very philosophy, does not allow coercion as that is the antithesis of Justice. Furthermore, government, itself, is a coercive monopoly as it has monopolized the initiation of force and coercion.

Socialism and Communism are contradictory to Justice as they pontificate that free and voluntary exchanges between people cannot be conducted, i.e. via Laissez Faire Capitalism, while a select few of the political elite who run the Marxist government institution determines who the winners and losers are through arbitrary means. These same people will say in one sentence that [coercive] monopolies are bad, and then turn around and say government should control the marketplace. That is, by its definition, a coercive monopoly.

In response to your pointing out of child labor in the US, please note that it is a “privilege” for children to not work hard labor, not a moral stance. The nature of mankind, when born in nature, is without clothing, with little food primarily from one’s mother (hopefully), with no shelter except that of the voluntary guardian (hopefully), no weapons, inability to walk or talk, etc. We are born helpless, and our state at birth is that of extreme poverty. The US, and other European countries, moved towards not having children in the labor force for multiple reasons. One, because it was not financially necessary for everyone to have their children working because they had better-paying jobs that enabled them, primarily men, to provide for their families’ needs and some desires. Two, many of the labor laws against child labor were directed towards Blacks and other low socioeconomic minorities within the US to prevent them from gaining political and financial leverage in the US. Three, social pressure from those in society were disappointed in seeing that the significant primary provider of child labor was not the private marketplace, but in fact, government sending orphans to work in factories in order to fund their housing, staff pay, food, clothing, etc. especially for the orphans themselves. Today, there are still a number of countries that have child laborers, but they are mostly in developing countries, which points back to my original premise of the “privilege” of not needing child laborers.

As for your erroneous comparison of the US to Norway, let’s take a look at a few facts first. I will begin by stating it is very difficult and fallacious to compare these two countries. Also, there are, of course, major limitations in Norway that come along with having a major Welfare State: The Nordic Glass Ceiling . Nevertheless, Norway has an almost similar economic freedom as the US. Norway’s financial success comes mostly from the private market sells of oil. Norway’s population consists of a homogeneous society with similar ideas, views, and philosophy; whereas the US is far more diverse, and the US has a higher per capita GDP. The enjoyment of life in the US is far greater, overall, than in Norway. Additionally, Norway does not have the utopian system that you seem to be alluding to. The heterogeneous character of the US is what helps it drive forward in the world, providing a superior and diverse competitive market, especially when compared to Norway. This also prevents a true cross-comparison of the two countries, as they are not even similar- it is a false equivalence logical fallacy.


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Working Teens Should Not be Forced Back to Public School

By T. Fair | United States

A recent article in The Daily Bell relates that truancy interventionists in Xenia, Ohio, are meeting with students. Regardless of where the kids are, the officers track them down to determine why they are missing classes. Jenny Adkins, the school’s supervisor of student services, even said: “She has gone to work sites before if she knows a kid is working.” 

Ironically, the name of the school is “Greene County Career Center”. That’s right, a so-called career center is prohibiting students from getting a jump start on their working lives. In other words, the school is training students for their jobs by not letting them have jobs.

Nothing says career preparation like “educators” not letting the students they advise actually work. This is a horrible idea. You know what prepares teens and young adults for their careers? Actually having job experience.

Denying young people the right to choose for themselves is not just hypocritical and foolish, because this is a career center, but it is a bad idea for all schools in general. Isn’t the claimed purpose of schools all around America, if not the world, to “prepare the next generation for the real world?” Well, participating in the real world will likely require you to work. A teenager getting a job before adulthood is a first big taste of that “real world.”

This protocol also treats young adults like small children. This, of course, is counter-productive, because part of the real world is also making decisions for yourself. Schools should be teaching students about individualism, that students should always think for themselves and take action accordingly. That personal morality should outweigh law. But, it’s not like society wants a generation of thinkers; they want a generation of workers. John D. Rockefeller said it himself, “I don’t want a nation of thinkers. I want a nation of workers.”

The public school system, in enforcing this policy, is largely focused on monetary gain. A school’s funding from the state is based on attendance, or student enrollment, also known as membership. An article from KPBS by Joanne Faryon reports on the cost of students missing school, using San Diego County as an example.

“The attendance-based funding formula puts a bounty on the heads of students, forcing schools to meticulously track their absences – placing dollar amounts next to their names. Number 114 is one of 358 students on a list of the chronically absent at Lincoln High. A student is considered chronically absent if he or she misses 10 percent or more of the 180-day school year.” Joanne writes, soon following up with, “On average, a student with perfect attendance is worth about $5,230 to a school district in San Diego County. Every day missed reduces that amount by about $29. It may not sound like much, but the multiplier effect can be financially staggering for some schools.”

According to the article, a total of 473 students total were chronically absent in Ramona Unified School district, which contains approximately 5,700 students.

School attendance should always be voluntary. It should be a parent’s decision to enroll their children in a school, and their responsibility to have them attend class. Schools claim to prepare kids for the real world, yet this is one of the ways they fail to do so.

In the real world, there will be no truancy interventionists to drag them back to work. It is not the role of the government to tell someone what will be a good choice for them. If a young person is happy to spend their time working, that should be their choice. Many people who spend their young lives studying still end up lonely, unhappy and worn out.

Who should decide if the path of public education is the right one? It’s not the government, but the individual. The opportunity to succeed, to fail, and anything in between, while learning from successes and failures, is the undeniable right of every individual.

Mandatory public education is, by definition, an infringement on individual liberty. This is not to mention other issues like imbecilic curricula or the state’s agenda seeping into the classroom. As stated previously, 473 out of 5,700 students in a San Diego school district were chronically absent, which is over eight percent of all students. Not all of them, of course, were at work. Students are still going to be missing from class, regardless of truancy laws and the people who enforce them.

Looking at comparative international test scores, fraudulent standardized testing, and the morality of the public sector, it is clear that mandatory public schooling is a joke. Perhaps it’s time for a change.


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