Child Labor Essay

1926 Words 8 Pages
Child Labor

Child labor is a pervasive problem throughout the global economy, especially in the markets of developing countries. With over 90% of the total child labor market employed in the rural areas of Asia and Africa largely due to lack of enforcement, it is argued that something has to be done. Although the majority of people are ethically appalled by child labor, and against the exploitation of children, is the worldwide eradication of the worst forms of child labor really a feasible alternative? To answer this question people have to take into account a variety of factors involving both the economic and social costs, as well as have a firm understanding of the situations people are faced with in these underdeveloped
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With a vast amount of resources and huge demand for finished goods, child labor including the worst forms of bonded labor were used in both the US and UK to produce goods at the lowest possible cost. So to tell governments of impoverished nations to ban the practices that helped make industrialized nations what they are today is counterintuitive. For the US and the UK as well as others have relied on the use of child labor during their time of industrial development. This is a large reason why some third world governments are willing to turn a blind eye to some of the practices going on in their countries. Because there is hope that they too will develop industry by attracting foreign investment with the lure of cheap labor, and one day be able to emerge as an industrialized nation as did the US and the UK. So how does child labor help increase investment, and make children better off?

This is a very strong argument for the proponents of child labor. The governments of these countries understand that a child working 14 hours a day in a factory isn’t what is best for that child. But when you consider the alternatives, is working in a factory for less than a dollar a day really making a child or their future worse off? Some would argue no. Primarily because of the economic advantages that can be gained by luring investment with the promise of high profits due to a cheap labor market. Krugman outlines many of the benefits that can come from child

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