Relevance of Child Labor in Developing Countries, Thesis Paper Example

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Words: 2230

Thesis Paper

Child labor that is used in the production of goods is a common phenomenon throughout the world. Young children are hired to work in many different industries to support the manufacture of clothing, shoes, and other products for distribution and sale throughout the world. In this context, child labor supports the growth of small and large scale economies.[1]However, this practice is controversial and represents significant  exploitationof children by manufacturers throughout the world.[2] In many countries, the practice is illegal, but despite this moral position, child labor offers a number of benefits, especially during periods of global economic decline.[3] These benefits include increasing the domestic product of countries producing goods as well as increasing per capita income.  Though perhaps morally objectionable, the salary earned by child workers provides support for the families of the children and the economy of the country. Child labour has significant economic impacts in developing countries and provides an important tool for these countries to overcome the throes of poverty that exists in many families; however, it is not a long-term sustainable economic advantage for any country seeking economic relief and continuous growth.

In many nations throughout the world, policy makers are seeking ways to completely abolish child labor.  This abolishment of child labor will only serve to further depress the economies of the countries that exercise these practices.  Since developing countries are the primary employers of children, they achieve the greatest economic benefits from child labor.  A study of modern economies reveals the use of child labor in the early growth phases of an economy to stimulate growth and recovery, followed by termination of the practice once the economy is stabilized.  Rather than aiming to abolish child labor, economists should evaluate different approaches that might be feasible to restore or stimulate economic growth that utilize enhanced strategies to produce goods and improve sales growth in the countries where these goods are sold. The costs that are required to employ a young child in a factory are low; however, he or she is far more limited in terms of future income when there is no opportunity to obtain proper education to improve potential and related productivity.

Case study

According to the International Labor Organization, there are nearly 250 million children in India who participate in child labor and almost 120 million of these children work full time. In India, it is estimated that 12.6 million children are employed as workers in various manufacturing facilities.[4] On a global scale, India has the largest prevalence of child labor[5]Since India has an extreme rate of poverty, children are utilized as laborers in an effort to overcome the nearly 32.7 percent poverty rate. In response to this poverty rate, it is necessary to understand how employing young children provides the necessary benefits for their families, but also considering that this solution alone will not have the desired impact on families who struggle with poverty on a daily basis.

The poverty level in India creates an environment where many families will rent out their children to farms and industries to provide labor.[6]Nonetheless, children should not be the sole contributors to the family income, as adults must fine ways to earn a living so that children are not required to work and to abstain from obtaining a valuable education.

[7]From an economic perspective, a relative decline in child labor may have a positive impact in that it adheres to the belief that 20 percent of the people are responsible for 80 percent of the results, also known as the Pareto principle.[8]Similarly, child labor may produce inefficiencies and economic disparity when children are forced to work rather than to obtain an education13. It is important to recognize how child labor has a direct impact on the economy of India and of other struggling countries and is disparagingly related to poverty rates.13 When a small group of people are responsible for a large segment of productivity, there is a significant unequal distribution that must be addressed so that child labor is not the primary source of productivity in factories. Labor sources must be more evenly distributed in order to accomplish the desired objectives and to alleviate poverty through improved income potential across different age groups.

Benefits of child labor

Child labor exposes a child to learning the value of money they have worked for in the economy.[9]When there are changes in household income known as income shocks, there is likely to be an increase in child labor; however, the potential of household assets may play a role in mitigating the impact of household shocks for some families.[10]Furthermore, child labor has decreased wage rates and relatively increased profits that help stimulate a developing country’s economy.  However, this is not necessarily the most appropriate strategy because lower wages do not provide the necessary advantages for workers and their families. Adults and children may struggle to survive when wages are low, thereby creating a dilemma for families whose children are employed in the workforce when wages are very low. While permitting child labor in the short term is not an ideal scenario, it allows an economy to expand to a point where poverty decreases and no longer serves as the chief driver for child labor.  Developing countries must be willing to endure child labor in the short term to abolish it over the long term in order to stimulate economic growth. However, children must become contributing members of society in these roles and as the recipients of education that will guide them throughout their lives. Child labour should only provide a temporary fix for countries until other alternatives to generate income are readily available.

Child labor is a clear sign of poverty; however when children work and contribute to various parts of the economy, they provide economic support, in spite of the challenges that they face.[11]Instead of working solely as individuals, the family now earns more money as a unit.  This practice increases per capita income and helps further spur economic growth in the economy in question.[12]

Finally, children are often considered to be useful in various primary and secondary economic sectors because they are inexpensive to employ. Though morally irresponsible, some manufacturing tasks are not profitable for developed nations. Certain repetitive tasks in manufacturing firms require the mastery of specific skills and typically generate low profit margins. As a result, children easily pick up skills more quickly.[13]Since   children are able to accomplish these tasks, developing nations that approve and regulate child labor are able to take advantage of these marginal production activities at a reduced labor cost.  If a country is able to outsource or automate its practices, it may be able to produce higher numbers of goods to distribute and sell throughout the world, thereby generating higher profits. This will reduce the necessity for child labor in these countries.

Arguments Against Child Labour

Critics argue that child labor has a number of negative impacts on lives of the children involved in these practices, as they are unethical, unfair, and labor intensive. Furthermore, there is a lack of opportunity to attend school because of work, and many critics state that children who engage in labor often miss opportunities to attend school while at their rightful age.[14]This is a negative attribute because without a formal education, children will grow and be unable to earn a decent living and contribute to favorable economic circumstances. However, many manufacturers will use them for their own profits and later dump them without any consideration of their economic circumstances.

Children are used in labour roles because they are able to contribute to businesses in a manufacturing capacity. However, this approaches does not provide them with the tools or resources that are necessary to support children not as workers, but as students learning the subjects that will drive their motivation and success. .Developing nations may either choose to allow child labor to stimulate economic growth, thus ensuring that future generations do not suffer in poverty, or choose to abolish the evil of child labor to save children now but guarantee poverty in future generations. Countries will only be able to offer education and healthcare to citizens by stabilizing their economies and increasing their over gross domestic product as a result.  Rather than prohibiting children from working in the manufacturing sector, allowing them to work for a period of time may be contributing factor in supporting economic growth and change within a given economy.

Conclusion

Child labor is a challenging and far-reaching problem in many communities. It is important to identify how child labor plays a role in either stimulating or limiting economic growth in countries where this practice is common. The economy and welfare of children must be key priorities in making these decisions and in enabling growth and change that will have a positive impact on economic growth. However, this concept is challenging and requires additional evaluation in order to determine how to stabilize and maintain economic growth, while also reducing poverty in developing countries. Most importantly, it is necessary to consider child labour as a short-term solution at best to cap an ever-growing problem involving poverty in many developing countries. However, children should not be forced into this type of life for lengthy periods of time, as it is unethical and inappropriate to subject children to these circumstances. A more appropriate solution is to employ adults in positions of labour and provide them with higher wages, not only to stimulate the economy, but also their personal incomes. A cost-benefit approach to child labour is likely to provide a greater understanding of its strengths, weaknesses, challenges, and sustainability over the long term.

General comments

While you have improved on this essay, the essay still lacks originality. You did not incorporate adequate personal reflections and critique. I would still say that your former essays have solid arguments than this.

While reading this essay, it seems to be pieces of cakes forcefully joined together.

Personally, I found it difficult to agree to many of your arguments and analysis.

You may try to stay neutral and just conduct a cost-benefit analysis

The case study you have presented is not holistically analysed in your analysis section.

I think you can improve this essay by staying neutral.

Bibliography

Baker, Michael. Universal childcare, maternal labor supply, and family well-being. Cambridge, Mass.: National Bureau of Economic Research, 2008.

Baland, Jean-Marie, and James A. Robinson. Is child labor inefficient? Journal of Political Economy 108, no. 4 (2000). http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/316097

Basu, K.. “The Global Child Labor Problem: What Do We Know And What Can We Do?.” The UNICEF report on child labor 17, no. 2 (2013): 147-173.

Beegle, Kathleen, and Rajeev H. Dehejia. Why should we care about child labor? the education, labor market, and health consequences of child labor. Cambridge, Mass.: National Bureau of Economic Research, 2009.

Chakrabarty, Sayan, and Ulrike Grote. “Child Labor In Carpet Weaving: Impact Of Social Labeling In India And Nepal.” World Development 37, no. 10 (2009): 1683-1693.

Child Labor, Schooling, and Child Ability. Washington, D.C.: The World Bank, 2012.

Edmonds, Eric V., and Norbert Rüdiger Schady. Poverty alleviation and child labor in India. Washington, D.C.: World Bank, 2008.

Harwood, Robin, Scott A. Miller, and Ross Vasta. Child psychology: development in a changing society. 5th ed. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, 2008.

Roggero, P., V. Mangiaterra, F. Bustreo, and F. Rosati. “The Health Impact Of Child Labor In Developing Countries: Evidence From India.” American Journal of Public Health 97, no. 2 (2011): 271-275.

Satz, D.. “Child Labor: A Normative Perspective.” The World Bank Economic Review 17, no. 2 (2012): 297-309.

Wolff, François-Charles, and  Maliki. “Evidence On The Impact Of Child Labor On Child Health In India, 1993–2000.” Economics & Human Biology 6, no. 1 (2008): 143-169.

[1]Baker, Michael. Universal childcare, maternal labor supply, and family well-being. Cambridge, Mass.: National Bureau of Economic Research, 2008.

[2]Beegle, Kathleen, and Rajeev H. Dehejia. Why should we care about child labor? the education, labor market, and health consequences of child labor. Cambridge, Mass.: National Bureau of Economic Research, 2009.

[3]Basu, K.. “The Global Child Labor Problem: What Do We Know And What Can We Do?.” The UNICEF report on child labor 17, no. 2 (2013): 147-173.

[4]Roggero, P., V. Mangiaterra, F. Bustreo, and F. Rosati. “The Health Impact Of Child Labor In Developing Countries: Evidence From India.” American Journal of Public Health 97, no. 2 (2011): 271-275.

[5]Edmonds, Eric V., and Norbert Rüdiger Schady. Poverty alleviation and child labor in India. Washington, D.C.: World Bank, 2008.

[6] Satz, D.. “Child Labor: A Normative Perspective.” The World Bank Economic Review 17, no. 2 (2012): 297-309.

[7]Wolff, François-Charles, and  Maliki. “Evidence On The Impact Of Child Labor On Child Health In India, 1993–2000.” Economics & Human Biology 6, no. 1 (2008): 143-169.

[8]Baland, Jean-Marie, and James A. Robinson. Is child labor inefficient? Journal of Political Economy 108, no. 4 (2000). http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/316097

[9]Harwood, Robin, Scott A. Miller, and Ross Vasta. Child psychology: development in a changing society. 5th ed. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, 2008.

[10]Beegle, Kathleen, Rajeev H. Dehejia, and Roberta Gatti. Child labor and agricultural shocks. Journal of Development Economics: 81(2006): 80-96.

[11]Wolff, François-Charles, and  Maliki. “Evidence On The Impact Of Child Labor On Child Health In India, 1993–2000.” Economics & Human Biology 6, no. 1 (2008): 143-169.

[12]Baker, Michael. Universal childcare, maternal labor supply, and family well-being. Cambridge, Mass.: National Bureau of Economic Research, 2008.

[13]Harwood, Robin, Scott A. Miller, and Ross Vasta. Child psychology: development in a changing society. 5th ed. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, 2008.

[14]Wolff, François-Charles, and  Maliki. “Evidence On The Impact Of Child Labor On Child Health In India, 1993–2000.” Economics & Human Biology 6, no. 1 (2008): 143-169.

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