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Child Labor and Economic Development - Essay Example

As the paper declares children who were supposed to be inside the classroom learning and preparing themselves to have better tomorrow, or that they are enjoying their natural rights to play with other children or helping family chores at home by their own sense of responsibility and initiative, are now being laden with works which and most of the time beyond their capacity. Their young bodies are not prepared yet for such burden.
This essay stresses that the irony is that, we adults or the society in general seems to tolerate this malpractice of child labor. There are even business establishments that deliberately hire young children, sending them to work in factories often with very poorly working conditions. Ventilations are not sufficient giving more hazard to these young laborers. In the third world countries, this is common, and children who are working at their young age are usually considered lucky or privilege since employment is difficult for adults. Thus, when one member of the family gets a job, regardless of age, it is an opportunity. But what does this reflect the society? This paper aims to answer what child labor reflects on economic development. It will also attempt to answer three things: the rise of child labor, the economic consequences of child labor, and, policies that can help put an end to child labor. Professor Glen Perusek reported a case of child labor in the Strait of Malacca which is known as Jermals. This report is one of the extreme cases of child labor that was recorded (Child Labor in the World Economy).
"Conditions on the jermals are abysmal. The structures are flexible, to be able to absorb the shock of the sea during storms. Nausea is a common complaint. Not only do children haul in the nets, sort and boil fish, they must also cook their own meals. Children, the report says, "are given little food, of poor quality" and no variety to speak of. Nearly every meal consists of rice with fish. Only once every two months are there fresh vegetables. Children are so desperate for food that they will "submit to (homo)sexual relations with one of the older workers" for extra rations. The working hours leave children chronically short of sleep. "Worse than almost anything else is the misery caused by lack of sleep. Some foremen pour boiling water on children who inadvertently doze at their post or fail to wake promptly when summoned." There are no beds for the children on the Jermals -- this privilege is reserved for the foremen, often the only adults on board. Instead, children sleep on damp board floors or in makeshift shelters on the shanty roof, or on beds of brown paper.

Causes of Child Labor

Child labor has many causes but the main driving force of child labor is poverty due to unemployment. According to Basu and Tzannatos, "the role of poverty has been the cornerstone of a lot of thinking regarding child labor"(Basu and Tzannatos, p.15). This is best explained through the two crucial assumptions such as the luxury axiom and the substitution axiom wherein child labor is connected with poverty although there are some distinctions between the two as the level of poverty is to be measured. Luxury axiom "asserts that household sends their ...Show more
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Summary

This essay talks about child labor which has been common to many nations particularly those that belong to the third world countries, since the last two hundred years when Factories Act of 1802 was enacted. Today, the rough estimate of child laborer is about 186 millions all over the world. …
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