Commentary Sheet on Chapter 7 of 'Why Some Things Should Not Be for Sale`
Name: Florent Islami
Text: ‘Child Labor: A Normative Perspective’ - Why Some Things Should Not Be For Sale, pp. 155-169
Thesis: Child Labor – if unavoidable – needs to be incorporated by a formal institution
Child Labor is one of the most severe issues we have to face worldwide. Even though there was a significant decrease of child laborers in the past years, still over half of them suffer under dangerous and hazardous work (Nowakowski, 2015). We claim to strongly disapprove of and avoid child labor, but in fact, there are many cases in which western consumers greatly tolerated products which contained materials …show more content…
In order to accomplish this goal, child labor has to be institutionally acknowledged rather than ignored. There have to be binding agreements with employers which represent and protect children’s interests. E. g. part of the money the children earn is directly invested in education for them1.Welfare is guaranteed by banning hazardous labor and only allowing work which is beneficial for the target. The agency problem is avoided by the government, since it has strong incentives to protect and educate children properly. Therefore, finding appropriate guidelines is beneficial for both government and society, eventually leading to a state where child labor is not needed anymore. Realizing this approach sure is a very difficult task and may be seen as too utopian. It requires both a benevolent government and sufficient scrutiny. One can argue that under a benevolent government, the country would not have to face problems like child labor, but that is simply not true.
It is crucial that child labor is not demonized or institutionally ignored anymore. The issue needs to be combated efficiently and sustainably.