The Fallacy of “Child-Labor-Free”

This blog post is nothing more than a sad attempt to legitimize a barbaric practise of using children as cheap labour. The blog poster Rod Rojas tries to paint child labour as artisitic, he attempts to link the mental image of freedom through creativity to child exploitation. He does this by talking about rugs from Morocco called “kilims”. This is possibly one the most disgusting pieces the Mises Institute pushes.

The blog post begins by with Rojas complaining that there are quality-control seals saying “child-labor-free”. Obviously not having children forced into production because they have educational and psychological needs is upsetting him. This sentence is telling: “I must confess that I had the same type of feeling I get when a waiter assures my friends that their dish will have no MSG.” At no point does Rojas actually explain what he means by this. I assume he is annoyed that evil big government dares to place a label on something that people WANT to know about.

First the propaganda post begins by trying to deliberately twist the definition of child labour. Child labour is defined as using a child as a worker in an industry. This poster tries to change the definition of child labour and make it akin a son working on a family farm. Child labor is chaining girls to desks in the third world for 13 hours to make shoes.

Most of his justifications for child labor were just pathetic.

1. “In the little towns where these rugs are produced, teen marriage is normal even for boys.” Arraigned marriage for children is okay, so therefore child labour is.

2. “…the only reason our children don’t have to do this type of labor is that we are wealthier…” We don’t have our children do this type of labour is because people didn’t want their kids to do this kind of labour because they wanted them to go to school as children instead. Education is important; people want their children to go to elementary and high school. That’s why people pushed for public education. The ruling class wants people to be able to read and write, they wanted workers to have a higher level of education for the bottom rung of workers. In typical stateless capitalist fashion, they just ignore history and reality to justify their hateful exploitative view.

3. “Most of them… had to work very hard in their childhood. I am talking long hours of farm or factory labor, barefoot and on an empty stomach until supper, which was the only meal. Europe had been devastated by the war; there was no other way.” People DON’T want their children to go through this kind of life! “I want you to have things better than I did.” Most people’s parents told them that. No one wants that to happen to their children. And besides, it in part, was a necessity of life rebuilding a continent after a world war. We are not in a world war right now.

4. “The Canadian economic success is reflected in their luxurious childhoods.” Because people wanted their children to have things easier as a child so they could get an education when they couldn’t. They don’t want their children and grand children to live life working as a child as they did. And by the way one of the things that gives Canada such a high standard f living is universal health care and social education, both things you people are against.

5. “Indeed, economic development is the precursor of all things good and humane.” This has nothing to do with child labour, but research India from 1947 to 1990, about 120 million people died; it didn’t feel too humane to them.

6. “…a parent who puts a child behind a loom for ten hours a day does so, not out of callous greed, but because this is what brings food to the table.” A child cannot sit 10 hours in front of anything, not even a television. If you literally can’t see anything wrong with this, there is something seriously wrong with you.

The attempt to use children as cheap labour should not be surprising. The capitalist system is predicated on a need for cheaper and cheaper labour in order to stay ahead of competition and reduce labour costs. The desire to have children manufacturing is simply cowardly and fascist. Children are the least likely to speak up for themselves, they have the least ability to defend themselves and the least (if any) knowledge of their rights. This speaks volumes about the ideology and what kind of people who follow this fascist ideology.

This follows the typical Mises Institute line, ignore all history: pretend people didn’t push to have their children to go to school instead of working. Pretend the ruling elite didn’t need workers to become more educated.