Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Quote Of The Day

I have a six-year-old son. His name is Jin-Gyu. He lives off me, yet is quite capable of making a living. I pay for his lodging, food, education and health care. But millions of children of his age already have jobs. Daniel Defoe, in the 18th century, thought that children could earn a living from the age of four. Moreover, working might do Jin-Gyu's character a world of good. Right now he lives in an economic bubble with no sense of the value of money. He has zero appreciation of the efforts his mother and I make on his behalf, subsidizing this idle existence and cocooning him from harsh reality. He is over-protected and needs to be exposed to competition, so that he can become a more productive person. Thinking about it, the more competition he is exposed to and the sooner this is done, the better it will be for his future development. It will whip him into a mentality that is ready for hard work. I should make him quit school and get a job. Perhaps I could move to a country where child labour is still tolerated, if not legal, to give him more choice in employment.

Ha-Joon Chang - Bad Samaritans: The Myth of Free Trade and the Secret History of Capitalism


HispanicPundit said...

Yet it's only capitalism that makes child labor not necessary.

I don't think anybody really wants child labor. Certainly not children. Certainly not parents. It's not child labor they want that made child labor historically acceptable - its starvation, and doing everything necessary to avoid it, that made child labor acceptable.

Jon said...

That has nothing to do with the point. The point is this 6 year old is a welfare queen. Doesn't work, but is capable of it. I mean, lots of 6 year old kids work. He should work for his own food and he should be paid whatever the market will bear. So you know, he's kind of little. Probably not all that useful. So maybe Haitian type wages. A few cents an hour. People do live on that amount and he can too. That's what's best for society. Anything less would be theft. He's stealing from his parents. To say his parents are obligated to provide for him is some sort of Marxist weird ideology.

HispanicPundit said...

So you know, he's kind of little. Probably not all that useful. So maybe Haitian type wages.

Workers in a capitalist country can choose between leisure and work, after all, starvation is not around the corner.

And leisure comes at a high value. Even adults (adult welfare queens especially) choose not to work for the minimum wage.

SO given these economic circumstances, and the fact that adulthood makes up a persons major lifespan, a childs - and parents - natural choice is to spend childhood getting the child as educated and ready for adulthood as possible (though I know many parents who claim that their kids school workload is child labor, hahaa).

Jon said...

No way man. These kids are free loaders. I'm the one that earns the money and provides the food. Why should that be? Why shouldn't they have to provide for themselves since they are capable? No protections. Just a free market.

HispanicPundit said...

Kids are consumption goods. Parents want to see their kids excel...which means more education.

And because capitalism eliminates starvation as an immediate threat, we can actually have consumption goods.

God Bless capitalism! It actually ELIMINATES child labor!

Jon said...

You're having trouble focusing. Your version of capitalism you of course regard as a great thing, bringing people from poverty to prosperity. I disagree. We've had that discussion many times. Let's have a different discussion here. One that actually addresses the statement from Ha-Joon Chang.

Some parents want their kids to excel. True enough. But some don't care. What if I'm one of those parents? What if my attitude towards my kids is much like your attitude towards people that presently lack skills in the US.

Are they entitled to my tax dollars? Are they entitled to an education paid for by me? No. In fact the very idea of them getting food paid for by me is an outrage. If a kid in Bangladesh can work, so can my child.

If he wants a roof over his head, fine. He'll have to pay me for it because I pay the mortgage. And if he can get a better deal elsewhere he can go ahead and try. He may not have much money left over for food. Meaning he'll be out on the street.

And it's what's best for them. If you just give that kid stuff he'll grow fat and feel entitled. He could try to sweep floors today and work his way up. That's what he needs.

The alternative violates free market principles. Not as efficient.

HispanicPundit said...

Some parents want their kids to excel. True enough. But some don't care. What if I'm one of those parents?

Oh, I have no problem with child labor, provided parents want it. I mean, working at Mc Donalds, with the parents at their business, etc. All okay with me.

Of course most parents wont. Like I said, parents see children as a consumer good. It's like making primary education legal to skip - even if you made it legal, 90%+ of parents would still continue to provide and encourage for their kids education. But of those 10% that desire otherwise, I am okay with that.

In fact, this is what the Amish get. They have their children exit education early, something like the 7th or 8th grade and immediately start helping on the farm. Of course, none of them are professionals, but they seem happy. If this is the life they want, I am okay with it.

Jon said...

OK, so let's just suppose I'm an alcoholic father that figures if I can have my kids skip school and maybe push a broom at the local supermarket, then this will put another $20 in my pocket per day let's say. That's beer money. And the kid owes me rent anyway. Now, for a lot of children that means sentencing your child to a life of poverty. Some might turn 18, move out, and make their life a success in any case through huge effort. Most will have a much crappier life. But that's OK and should be legal.