Tuesday, November 9, 2010
Let's talk about child labour
I would strongly agree with the premise that globalization brings about social change, such as poverty alleviation or women's rights. I can even accept the idea that an increase in wages will lead to more parents sending their children to schools. Bhagwati references peasants in Vietnam who were able to send their children to primary schools after rice was liberalized. Fair enough. I am not going to argue for a single minute that globalization leads to increased wages that can bring about such change. What I reject, and this isn't exactly what Bhagwati argues from what I can tell, is that government doesn't have the ability to step into the picture by enacting (and in India's case enforcing) laws that ban child labour completely. If the economy is liberalized, wages will rise for the parents regardless of whether the child is working or not. It is a very short term solution to a problem that most people recognize. After all, "in the long run, we're all dead."