What is wrong with Child Labor?

I abhor poor working conditions for children and adults, but what is so bad about a poor family working to get by? For thousands of years, children have been working to help keep the family alive. That is why most families around the world have so many kids.

In the G7* countries where we are dripping with cash, we can afford to have just a couple kids who we buy lots of great things and then spend thousands to educate them until they are 20 or 30 years old. Even in school, G7 kids learn about abstract information that can not be directly applied to work.

A child who works still learns, but instead of learning poems, trigonometry, or Mozart; they learn how to make a living. For many wealthy westerners this seems horrible, but to a starving family, getting a few extra bucks for on the job training is much more important than a liberal arts education.

As long as kids arenít getting abused or mistreated, we should praise a dedication to the work ethic. There is nothing wrong with going to school and I am sure that most kids would prefer school over work. But in lands where money, food, and opportunities are scarce, learning to survive by hard work for money is not only practical, but often necessary.

*G7 is short for the seven wealthiest countries in the world. US, England, France, Italy, Canada, Germany, and Japan.

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