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Sunday, November 29, 2009

Week 6 Discussion Topic

John Majewski (1986), author of The Freeman Ideas on Liberty, paints view of life during the industrial revolution era that runs counter to what we have generally be given in history textbooks of young children forced to work long hours with little rest or food. However, according to Majewski (1986), “conditions were not near as deploring nor were morality rates as high as many of us assumed." He maintains that women and children during the industrial revolution were probable no worse off than they were before.

Although the industrial revolution meant difficult labor conditions, people were accustomed to hard work. Further, unemployment rates. Rural residents migrated to urban areas to find employment. With a greater number of adults working, child labor probable saw a decrease. The industrial revolution, according to Majewski (1986), “made it possible for western societies to banish child labor”.

One of the students in the class, Dora, has this to say: "One can assume that the pollution and sanitation conditions resulting from an increase of population in the urban areas was possible beyond today’s reader’s imagination. Lack of proper disposal of waste products creates friendly environments for disease causing magnets to inhabit and spread. However, it appears that the quality of life stabilized as society became industrialized. The industrial revolution created a mass of social problems which in turn created social groups that worked together to solve problems such as waste disposal and disease control. Social organizations such as Capitalism, Majewski (1986), “are credited for instigating improved living conditions and paving the way to shape our society, as we know it today”.

What are your thoughts on child labor then compared to child labor today in many parts of the world?

21 comments:

Shannon Christopher said...

I have very classic beliefs when considering Child Labor, I do not feel as if children should be worked "to death" for lack of better wording. I understand children helping out and trying to do their part but to what extent? Children are gifts to the world...not slaves. They deserve to be able to be children and play and live stress free which I know is not possible in many parts of the world. In some parts of the world...such as in certain areas of China...children are forced to work to be able to eat and have simple things in life. Unfortunately in these cases, they are working long and hard hours. This is totally unacceptable in my opinion but what can we do? This is their culture and this is what is expected of them. Sad but true! In other areas of the world children are forced into prostitution which is COMPLETELY unacceptable, thankfully there are groups and organizations that are fighting against this situations. This is such a touchy subject among all people, I just wish there was more that could be done.

DeWayne said...

I believe a child should learn the value of hard work, earning a dollar or two, and developing a good work ethic. I don't believe in working children like you would an adult, nor do I believe that a child should have to work to help support his or her family (part of my fantasy view of a perfect world). Every child should be free to enjoy their childhood and it is our responsibility as parents to make sure they have this opportunity, while instilling the values I mentioned in my opening sentence.
For what it's worth, I don't believe as the author does; I believe the acouunts written in the History books we learned from in school. While it may be possible that the severity of child labor abuses weren't as tragic in every city or state, I can't discount the impact child labor abuses had on the children of that timeframe and our country.
Overall, children in the U.S. are more likely to be free to live out their childhood as they wish as opposed to children in other parts of the world. Other countries are so poor that there is no help for the poorest of their citizens, which forces even the children to work just to help feed, clothe, and house their family. As mentioned Shannon's comments, there are countries who force children to work in factories; this is a part of life in these countries. This is wrong no matter how you look at it. We should all be thankful that we live in a country - even with all of our faults - that has laws on the books to prevent this abuse (yes, it is abuse) of our children.

C Will said...

It is my personal belief that the only work a child should be doing is centered on house chores and school work. Both would teach children lessons of responsibility. The use of children for financial growth “of others” through any sort of work is exploitation in the most extreme way. There are exceptions to this rule such as a child who is very artistic, that child creates artwork and sells it because he/she enjoy it.
Shannon speaks of other countries where a child might need to work to help support their families or even feed themselves. This presents a whole different set of issues. Far too often, people are having children when they can’t support themselves. Those children are left to be supported by the government, family members, or possibly being exploited as workers to make money. Children should grow up having fun, enjoying life. Without the inability to enjoy life, be creative and utilization of the imagination, parents are doing a disservice to their children.
Children are our future, if we don’t give them the ability to be children before being our future; our future is destined to fail!

Alice C. Linsley said...

C Will,

That reminds me of a quote by Aristotle that appeared in Dora's paper on Aristotle. Here it is:

"All who have meditated on the art of governing mankind are convinced that the fate of empires depends on the education of youth."

Morgan said...

Children should not be worked to the extent of an adult. I do believe that children should have small chores to learn responsibility and what good work ethic is, but it's disturbing to learn how children around this world are being treated. Learning those things breaks my heart and allows me to see how wonderful my childhood was. But what are we to do?

Pam said...

I do not believe a child should have to work like an adult does. I think it is important to children to concentrate on their school work so they will have many opportunities after they graduate. I think children should help do house chores and be given an allowance so they do not think "money grows on trees." Children need to know that one has to be responsible and work to make a living once they become an adult, but I think it is important for a child to be a child, they need to have fun while they are young, the will get to work in the real world soon enough.

Kyle Carey said...

Children need to learn about good work ethics from their parents but there are other ways of teaching that to them than making them slaves, like other parts of the world. Children are the future and we need to focus more on their education. I believe children should not have to worry about providing for their family, this is the parents responsibilty.

Valerie Cornett said...

Even today in some parts of the world, children are worked to create profits for big businesses. Children can work at home such as yard work, house work, or homework. They can even have a paper route but should be helped by an adult. All these can be used by parents to teach responsibility. But working to support a family or themselves is not acceptable. The world has plenty of wealth, it just does not want to share it. All children need to be children with out worry about food, shelter, clothing, or health. The children trust adults to help them, the world is failing the children. Child labor is just one of many ways, the world is failing.

Kristen said...

I have the same belief as most, children should have responsibilities but should not have to work and provide for a family. Their parents brought them into this world and by doing so they should be expected to provide for that child. It is not a childs responsibility to work, but attend school and help contribute to a better future.

debl said...

Child labor compared today to the Industrial Revolution; there probably are few differences. If a society is going to abuse a child in the work environment, then that society is probably far behind in social and industrial development. Child labor is cheap. Children are typically considered "throw away" items in some societies; especially if the child is a girl. People in underdeveloped countries work hard, as did the people in England prior to and during the Industrial Revolution. So a leap from agricultural work to industrial is fairly logical. Many children are forced into other kinds of work (prostitution and slavery to name a few). Is working in a sweat shop easier than being prostituted? I agree the ideal situation is a childhood with plenty of food, people who love you, and a safe environment. However, that is not realistic for all countries at this time. Remember, here in America we have kids being abused, prostituted, and homeless; just to name a few things. So while we are appalled when thinking about child labor; we have our child oriented societal ills too. DebL

Dora Campbell said...

Debl,

I agree that American children are facing dire circumstances especially in the rural areas where manual labor is preformed in the interest of family togetherness. America is not yet to the level of third world countries however with the rapid increase of sexual perversion we are sinking to their level of moral conduct. Levels which we have learned in this class are below those of animal behavior.

Dora

Dora Campbell said...

Shannon,

We are taught to accept/respect the customs of others however child abuse is one area which no one should ever accept. It is sad but true that many of the products we buy were made by the tired worn hands of little children in a foreign country.

Dora

Dora Campbell said...

With world trade on the scale it is today child labor in third world countries is far worse than it was in the past. American companies continue to pull out of the United States seeking lower wages to produce their products. Our social organizations are lacking to ensure that this cheaper labor is not child labor.

If you would like to learn more on which countries are involved in child labor and human trafficking check out this CIA web site. https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/index.html

Click on select a country and scroll down to international issues.

This is also a great site for those who need current facts and figures for geography classes.

Dora

SirLazenby said...

I hope I live long enough to live in a world where, if a parent doesn’t believe his or her child should work, the only thought that enters the parent’s mind is, “My child isn’t going to work” as opposed to “There should be a law.” I hope the live in a world where, no mater what a parent chooses for their child, the parent’s choice in the only one that is of any consequence. I know how tempting it is to violate parental authority in the name of what is majoritively decided to be right and wrong however, to do so is remove every child’s basic psychological developmental need to have their parents as the primary authority figures. If it can be taken away, it isn’t yours. A right that can, through due process or otherwise, be subverted is no right at all; but simply a fiction used for manipulation. Will some parents make wrong decisions? Yes. But that is a mater for Darwinistics to work out; not us.

Chelly said...

I think that child labor during the industrial revolution had a lot to do with children working to help support the family whereas now, in some parts of the world, child labor is used merely for the cheap labor.
I do not believe that children should be worked as hard as adults. I have a soon to be 15 year old son and an 8 year old son. There are some chores they do around the house to earn money and others they do just because it is their responsiblity to contribute to the household. Hopefully, in this way, I can teach responsibility and that if you work hard you can earn not only money to buy things that you want, but the sense of pride for doing a job well.

Sydney said...

I attend Southland Christian Church here in Lexington and a few months ago had a sermon on sex trafficking of children and women in what the U.S. thinks as "less than fortunate" countries. It is a sad, but very true thing that many societies in the world force children to become part of such things to survive. My opinion on child labor is that there should be a limit as to what the child is made to do. I'm sure many countries feel that it makes a child grateful to earn what they have, and in some cases that may be true, but forcing them to work as hard as an adult would at such a young age is quite disturbing to think about. it makes me feel blessed to have been raised in a country where I was not forced to work as a child. I have only ever had one job, because my parents felt that since I worked hard enough in sports to obtain a scholarship to get money to go to school, they would much rather me focus on school and finish my education and get a good enough job to start my own life after college. And seeing the amount of child labor that many children are forced to do makes me forever grateful and blessed to have such a wonderful family who has supported everything I have ever done. I do not believe that a child should be forced to work as hard as many adults do, but I'm not sure if there is much our country can do about that at this point in time with this country already being in a war with the Middle East.

anita said...

I do not agree with children working as an adult would. Children need to learn responsibility and good work ethics, however,there is a line that must be drawned. Although here in the U.S.we have passed laws regulating child labor,unfortunately globally poverty and limited access to education still help promote child labor.

Ashley said...

When it comes to child labor laws, I don't think children should work. Children should be getting educated on life. They haven't been in the world for too long, which means they should enjoy first and foremost. Children are not born just to be put to work. Even if labor conditions were poor during the industrial revolution, obviously people didn't agree with it. Now, in parts of the world, children are suffering from being put to work. They are put to work with no choice. I personally do not believe that is right. As I said before, children are trying to learn their way. They should be given the time to grow and mature before being forced into a life of labor.

Ashley Francisco said...

To mentally envision the Industrial Revolution one often creates a picture of horrid working conditiions, child labor, and poor, desolate workers. This picture has been made popular by the works of authors like Charles Dickens and even from classroom textbooks. Though there is much validity to this conception, the article by John Majewski provided me with much enlightenmet into this topic.

If you look at the factual numbers during the Industrial Revolution you will see that mortality rates improved and life spans increased. This would mean that working conditions must have been steadily improving. Child mortality rates improved as well so it would seem the Industrial Revolution was in a way not near as bad as once thought and maybe even good for children at the time. This varies greatly from my pre-conceived notion of child labor during the Industrial Revolution.

The urbanization from so many moving to the cities reflected a hope for people looking to improve their quality of life. Instead of viewing the workers as pitiful one can look at them as hopeful much like the early settlers coming to America. They were looking for new frontiers and opportunities, and the workers during the Industrial Revolution were no different. The pollution created by this urbanization was obvious, but could not have been as bad as thought since mortality rates were improving.

The industrialization and capitalization that were once thought of as evil and oppressive can now be looked at with gratitude. If it were not for the former capitalism and industry we would not be so well off today. If one is willing to work they can achieve much and we owe thanks to the industry and capitalism during the Industrial Revolution for this.

Bonita said...

I think that all children need to learn to learn at an early age about work. I think that making them help around the house doing chores is a good teacher. I really disagree with putting a child to work to earn a wage. That to me is some kind of abuse. Children should not be able to work until the age of 16. It is wrong no matter what Country or culture that you live in. They deserve to have a childhood. That is what is wrong with a lot of the children who grew up on television.

Ashley said...

Regardless of the reason, children should not have to work and endure harsh conditions for the sake of others. As a soon to be mother,I cant imagine my young child being subjected to labor that me as an adult would struggle with. Yes, children should have repsonsibilty and should know the importance of work, but it should be such things as picking toys off the floor, helping throw away trash etc...not working 15hours plus, for little or no money, in horrible conditions, so that someone is making a profit.