Working Conditions / Child Labor

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Working Conditions

Should government intervene in the economy to bring about improved working conditions?

First of all, I believe that if the government intervenes in any type of economy it will use it for its own convenience; but, I won’t touch this subject right now.

Let’s say that air conditioning just got invented, therefore it is a lot more expensive than it will be in two years. Now, the government wants to improve the working conditions of every establishment, so they force all workplaces to have an air conditioner.

What would happen?

Well, the government would be going against the will of many. What if some don’t want air conditioner? You could ask yourself, well, “Who wouldn’t want air conditioner”? Bringing in air conditioner would make several changes.

A) The employers would have to pay for air conditioner.

B) That would lower the salary for employees.

C) That would lower the economy on the families.

Maybe, others would prefer working without air conditioner, and winning the same amount of money they used to, instead of working with air conditioner and getting paid less.

Also, there are some examples on how the government intervened to improve working conditions.

In 1970, they established the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA). Boosters pointed out that workplace injuries declined after that, however, workplace injuries had already been on decline before 1970, and that they had not fallen any faster after that. The Quarter century before OSHA the decline of fatalities was 70% faster than in the quarter century that followed. Twenty five years after its creation: “The most optimistic figures show OSHA currently creating 3 times more costs than it generates in benefits”.

I think this is enough in knowing that it didn’t work well.

In conclusion, the government shouldn’t intervene in the economy to bring about improved working conditions.

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Child Labor

I don’t think anyone likes child labor, but everyone wants it abolished. Still, it’s not enough just to share your opinion on it, and then ordering it destroyed.  There are many people’s lives behind child labor, not only children.

The International Labor Organization said: “Poverty, however, emerges as the most compelling reason why children work. Poor households need the money, and children commonly contribute around 20-25% of family income. Since by definition poor households spend the bulk of their income on food, it is clear that the income provided by working children is critical to their survival”.

Oxfam: “When factory owners in Bangladesh gave into pressure to fire child laborers, thousands starved or went into prostitution”.

UNICEF: “Boycott of the Nepalese carpet industry over child labor wound up forcing 5000 girls into prostitution”.

We can see here that abolishing child labor just like that is not the solution. So, what does really make child labor disappear?

Increased capital investment, leading to increased productivity of labor. Increased abundance and purchasing power means families will be able to afford keeping their children home. When this began to happen child labor began to decrease.

Like the International Labor Organization said in the early 21st century: “Growth of Asian countries is resulting in a swift decline in number of workers aged 10-14”.

In India the proportion of child workers declined from 35% in the mid-20th century to 12% half a century later.

Like these there are many more examples, but I believe that in order to come into a complete abolishment and disappearance of child labor, we should all act and live without ego, like the Bible says in Matthew chapter 22 verse 39: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself”.

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