Child Labor

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Many libertarians defend child labor because the alternative is for popular, labor, and government action to end the cycle of poverty, low education, and child labor. The obvious utilitarian argument against it is that lifetime earnings of a child laborer are MUCH smaller than those of an educated child.


Anarcho-Depravity [More...]
Libertarians (including the Libertarian Party have a long, sordid and extensive history of claiming children ought to be treated as free adults when it comes to sex, employment, legal prostitution, legal addictions, etc.
Child Labor during the British Industrial Revolution [More...]
A fine overview. "During the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries Great Britain became the first country to industrialize. Because of this, it was also the first country where the nature of children’s work changed so dramatically that child labor became seen as a social problem and a political issue."
How UNICEF Supports Families To Prevent Child Labor In Madagascar [More...]
Breaking the cycle of child labor is something that governments should be doing, imitating the successes that UNICEF has demonstrated.
Keynes on Laissez-Faire [More...]
Gavin Kennedy writes: "‘Laissez-nous faire’ is not advocated as a universal principle for merchants and their customers; it was a very partial principle for merchants only... [Mill and mine owners] wrapped themselves in laissez-faire flags to wipe up the blood of their employees when they demanded their own freedoms and not those of their labourers or their customers."
Sweatshops (2 links)
There is a huge literature on the known harms of sweatshops, but these are usually excused by theoretical benefits. Now literature is appearing that shows the supposed benefits aren't really there.
Worked Up [More...]
Steve Landsburg's propaganda piece promoting child labor. He is taken apart in detail by commenters Harold and Philip who examine his sources and fake economic determinism.


Not for nothing have fellow libertarians described the LP as the Molestitarian Party.
Garden Mole (pseudonym), "Anarcho-Depravity"
As it happens, I was reading a book about my second-favourite period of UK history over the weekend. It’s amusing to note how many of the arguments of the kind “raising labour standards will close down the factories and send the poor into horrible scavenging”, are nearly word-for-word copies of similar arguments made in the 1830s against the child labour laws passed in England. They were wrong then …
Daniel Davies, "Globollocks, v2.0"