May 30, 2012

Economists v. Child Labor and Immigration Laws

Over at Marginal Revolution, Tyler Cowen links to a study of why child labor expanded so much during the laissez-faire era of the industrial revolution. The comments are mostly the usual libertarian chest-pounding, leading up to Roy Swanson's:
I got my first job when I was nine. Worked at a sheet metal factory. In two weeks, I was running the floor. Child labor laws are ruining this country.

Well played, sir. 

On second reading, I've come to believe this is a pitch-perfect parody of 21st Century libertarianism. Having never worked in a sheet metal factory, I couldn't say for sure, but I would guess that there are a lot of opportunities for sheet metal workers to lose fingers or even heads without adequate adult supervision.

[Update: Commenters have pointed out that Rob Swanson is the libertarian Tea Party government bureaucrat (the one who looks like Teddy Roosevelt) on the TV sitcom Parks and Recreation. Sorry about ham-handedly explaining the entire joke. But, at least, I did recognize it was supposed to be funny.]

When I was majoring in economics, history (especially of Britain), and business at Rice in the 1970s, child labor in Dickensian England was a major intellectual sore spot. 

The libertarians were just beginning their ascendance in the academy. Rice, a science / engineering-focused college in the booming oil capital of Houston, was unusual among elite universities because its faculty averaged less to the left than was the norm in the 1970s. While the economics department was increasingly libertarian, it was striking at the time that even the history department had two star converts to pro-market ideas in Allen Matusow and Martin J. Wiener, who is obscure in America but subsequently became hugely controversial in England in the early 1980s because of his influence on Thatcherism via Keith Joseph.

A major PR problem for laissez-faire ideas back then, however, was the extremely well documented history of a previous era when laissez-faire ideas had been dominant: in England in the first 3/4ths of the 19th Century. In particular, nobody who read about the era wanted to go back to not regulating child labor.

Since then, the Dickensian Era has become less of a problem for intellectual libertarians. People don't read Dickens as much. Nobody watches Oliver! the 1968 Best Picture winner (I played Oliver Twist's grandfather, Mr. Brownlow, in the St. Francis De Sales elementary school's 1970 production of Oliver!). Time passes and less and less is remembered.

Over the centuries, laissez-faire argumentation for low wages has shifted from insisting upon the iron necessity of child labor to the wonderfulness of open borders. But the combination of monetary interest driving intellectual arguments remains very similar. 

Perhaps the best critique of the ideological rigidity of laissez-faire England comes from Paul Johnson's 1972 A History of the English People. This preceded his famous conversion to neoconservatism in the brilliant Modern Times of 1983. But in 1972, Johnson was the last heir of Orwell in his English patriotic democratic socialism. In VDARE.com in 2007, I explained how Johnson's analysis could be applied to current debates over immigration:
We don't think of the British as being terribly ideological. But during the second quarter of the 19th Century, their justifiable national pride in developing economics for once overwhelmed the vaunted British common sense. A dogma based on a crude interpretation of the works of Malthus and Ricardo presumed that low wages were crucial to profits, just like the sophomoric economics of today's open borders crowd. 
Back then, the ruling class didn't fulminate over plucking chickens but over sweeping chimneys. 
Consider the fates of the little boys, from age four on up, who were widely employed by master chimney sweeps to clamber up inside long flues and knock down the soot, at horrific cost to their health. Paul Johnson writes in A History of the English People (p.285), “often they were forced up by the use of long pricks, and by applying wisps of flaming straw to their feet. They suffered from a variety of occupational diseases and many died from suffocation.” 
The ruling ideology of the age assumed that, as regrettable as this might be, the laws of economics required it. 
After all, how else would chimneys ever get swept? 
The first bill banning the employment of children under eight from chimney sweeping passed Parliament in 1788. But, like many immigration laws in America today, it was ignored. So was the 1834 act. 
Then, the greatest reformer of the Victorian Era, Anthony Ashley Cooper, the seventh Earl of Shaftesbury, began his almost endless crusade to abolish child labor inside chimneys. Like William Wilberforce, the victor over the slave trade, Shaftesbury was a Tory, an evangelical Anglican, and a relentless parliamentarian.
In 1840, Shaftesbury carried a bill to regulate child chimney sweeps over ”resistance that can only be called fanatical”, in Johnson’s words. 
It also was not enforced. 
Three more of Shaftesbury’s bills failed in Parliament in the 1850s. He succeeded in 1864, but the legislation proved ineffective “due to a general conspiracy of local authorities, magistrates, police, judges, juries, and the public to frustrate the law. Boys continued to die…” including a seven-year-old who suffocated in a flue in 1873. 
Shaftesbury finally succeeded in passing effective legislation in 1875. 
And, of course, that winter everyone in Britain froze to death due to clogged chimneys. 
Oh, wait … sorry, that was in Bizarro Britain, where the reigning interpretations of economics actually applied. Rather like in Senator Kennedy’s Abnormal America, where nobody will be able to afford to eat chicken without the Liberal Lion’s amnesty and guest worker programs. 
In the real Britain, however, the master chimney sweeps quickly found other ways to clean chimneys. 
What we’ve learned since the early Victorian Era is that the world works in ways more responsive to intelligent effort than was imagined by Thomas Malthus: 
- High wages can often spur technological advances that more than make up for their costs. 
- The key to economic prosperity is not low wages but high human capital.
In contrast to Dickensian England, with its Scrooge-like obsession with cheap labor, Americans traditionally enjoyed high wages because the country was underpopulated relative to its natural resources. This inspired American entrepreneurs to invest in labor-saving innovations, which, in a virtuous cycle, allowed even higher wages to be paid. 
The most famous example: Henry Ford doubling his workers’ salaries in 1914 after inventing the moving assembly line. 
In the long run, the cheap labor obsession debilitated the English economy. After the brilliant innovations of the early Industrial Revolution, the English textile industry tended to stagnate. Paul Johnson explains: 
“Factories paid higher wages than domestic industries; all the same, they were very low, chiefly because most of the factory hands were women and children. Low wages kept home consumer demand down; worse still, they removed the chief incentive to replace primitive machinery by the systematic adoption of new technology.” 
And then there was the long run impact on Britain’s economic culture. Johnson writes: 
“State limitations of human exploitation came too late, and were too ineffective, to make the quest for productivity a virtue; the English did not discover it until the twentieth century, by which time the trade union movement had constructed powerful defenses against it.” 
Victorian Scroogeonomics helped engender its own nemesis. It drove the British working class far to the left of the American working class, leading to both the nationalization of major industries in the 1940s and a hatred of productivity improvements among unions, exemplified in the 1959 Peter Sellers’ movie I’m All Right, Jack.

141 comments:

Anonymous said...

My father attended St. Francis de Sales in Chicago. Ewing Ave., right?

IHTG said...

Excellent post, Steve.

Anonymous said...

Libertarians - at least how they are represented by ironically named "Reason" magazine, are rich liberals who want to get high, not pay taxes and have cheap maids clean up everything.

Anonymous said...

Another reason it might be becoming more respectable is that the white share of the population is getting smaller, and the white population is increasingly urban and engaged in rent-seeking occupations.

Liberalizing child labor laws and regulations would likely mean mestizo youths in the US and Third World youths abroad working and result in lower prices for goods.

Power Child said...

I thought the standard libertarian argument for child labor was that a lot of kids would get more out of a job sweeping floors than they get shooting spitballs at their teachers.

Anonymous said...

Tyler Cowen is employed by a public university. He lives off taxpayer money.

V said...

I did some work with a warehouse management software company. They would come up with smarter ways for people to move around warehouses, picking products to ship out, and build software that made those smarter ways easy.

Why are humans still in warehouses? 4 organs: eyes, brains, hands, and feet. A robot that does break-pack picking (selecting, say, three packs of staplers out of a box of twenty to ship out, and then leaving a partially full box of staplers on the rack) is really hard to make, because brains and hands are hard to duplicate. (Eyes are actually really easy to duplicate, and modern warehouses that use humans have them scan barcodes and follow lights on the racks. So a robot would easily know where to go, though it might find it hard to grab a few items out of a bigger box.)

But what fascinated me- and that I didn't know at all until I started working there- that about 80% of the worker's pay goes to their feet. About four fifths of their time is spend walking around the warehouse. This is something that's easy to do with robots- you just have a little lift that rolls under the right rack, picks it up, and then brings it to a worker who picks from it, and then it puts the rack back. It takes 7 to 10 robots to keep one worker fully busy, but even with wages where they are now the robots will pay for themselves after two years or so.

(The company I worked for put a lot of effort into building simulations to show that using human workers better was cheaper than buying robots, but obviously that hinges on the wages.)

I'm sympathetic to the Japanese model of preferring robots to immigrants, but it's not clear to me that mechanization is a good thing for citizenism. (There's good reason to believe that mechanization has more impact on the wages of the unskilled than immigration, though clearly immigration has an impact.)

The high-low alliance between elites and immigrant workers doesn't strike me as all that different between the high-robot alliance between elites and machines- except that machines neither vote nor think for themselves.

(I support child labor because I was briefly a child laborer (thought work: running a register for a family business) and because I would prefer teenage years be more like young adulthood and less like old childhood. I think hazardous working conditions should be compensated heavily for workers of all ages, so it's cheaper to make them safer than to make them suffer, and this may have the side effect of reducing child labor to more pleasant tasks, because children are more frail than adults.)

A Wiser Man Than I said...

Ron Swanson is a character on the very funny show Parks & Recreation.

He's a libertarian who showcases both the wisdom and folly of the ideology.

Steve Sailer said...

I went to the St. Francis de Sales in Sherman Oaks, CA.

By the way, St. Francis de Sales is the patron saint of journalists:

"And his preaching left the listeners thinking he was making fun of them. Others reported to the bishop that this noble-turned- priest was conceited and controlling. ...

"Francis' unusual patience kept him working. No one would listen to him, no one would even open their door. So Francis found a way to get under the door. He wrote out his sermons, copied them by hand, and slipped them under the doors."

Anonymous said...

Libertarians progressives who aren't batshit retarded on general economic theory.

Although out in real america (tm) there are a lot of libertarians who are not progressives.

Anonymous said...

Paul Johnson writes in A History of the English People (p.285), “often they were forced up by the use of long pricks, and by applying wisps of flaming straw to their feet.

Sounds apocryphal, but I don't think Paul Johnson is taken very seriously anyway.

Anonymous said...

Libertarians - at least how they are represented by ironically named "Reason" magazine, are rich liberals who want to get high, not pay taxes and have cheap maids clean up everything.



Get libertarians started on the wonder which is Abu Dhabi if you want to see their ugly side (which they are quite unaware is ugly) exposed.

Taken to its logial conclusion libertarianism leads to a repressive oligarchy.

Anonymous said...

"Possibly nothing has done so much harm to the liberal cause as the wooden insistence of some liberals on some rough rules of thumb, above all the principle of laissez faire".

F.A Hayek


(By "liberal" Hayeck meant what we nowdays call libertarianism or conservatism.)

Anonymous said...

Tyler Cowen is employed by a public university. He lives off taxpayer money.



That describes just about every libertarian I can think of. For a movement which is supposedly all about the "free movement of labor" and the evils of government, a truly remarkable number of leading libertarians are members of government guilds - either professors, or lawyers, or sometimes law professors.

Anonymous said...

"The key to economic prosperity is not low wages but high human capital."

Mass middle class = trickle sideways economics.

Anonymous said...

"brilliant Modern Times of 1983"

Brilliant? How about sanctimonious and hypocritical. Ohhhhh,it was so morally relativistic and evil to bomb Dresden but as for nuking the Japs? They deserved it. If Johnson's point is whites ought not kill whites, that's cool. But he invokes universal morality for tribal/racial interests and denies it to Others.

I can respect an honest 'bigot' but not a phony moralist. No wonder he joined the neocons, tribal Jews invoking 'universal human rights' to serve Zionist interests. Yechh.

Anonymous said...

That describes just about every libertarian I can think of. For a movement which is supposedly all about the "free movement of labor" and the evils of government, a truly remarkable number of leading libertarians are members of government guilds - either professors, or lawyers, or sometimes law professors.

Back when Charles Murray's Coming Apart came out, Tyler Cowen's colleague Bryan Caplan wrote about how he lives in a bubble of the sort Murray writes about and about how he doesn't really care at all about the rest of American society outside of it:

http://econlog.econlib.org/archives/2012/03/my_beautiful_bu.html

Of course, as an employee of a public university, his entire bubble is subsidized by taxpayers.

Anonymous said...

For a movement which is supposedly all about the "free movement of labor" and the evils of government, a truly remarkable number of leading libertarians are members of government guilds - either professors, or lawyers, or sometimes law professors.

If Tyler Cowen wasn't protected by this guild and couldn't live off of taxpayer money, he wouldn't be able to eat out every night at a different ethnic restaurant and extol the wonders of immigration and diversity.

Power Child said...

Upon further consideration, I guess what I said earlier isn't the "standard" libertarian argument for child labor, just one I've heard a few times that seemed most reasonable.

Anonymous said...

If there's a hell, Tyler Cowen will be washing dishes in its ethnic restaurants for eternity.

gummic said...

Blaming Lazy Fair for child labor is really stupid. Lazy Fair didn't invent child labor. It inherited it. Before the rise of industry, what did most people do? Farm work and artisan work. Was there public education for all? No. So, what did most kids do as soon as they could walk? They WORKED on the farm alongside their parents. Or, if their parents were blacksmiths, the sons became apprentices from an early age.
That was how things were for 10,000s of yrs. The idea of kids not working and attending school is a very new idea in the historical time scale.

So, since kids had worked since the dawn of time, they naturally continued to work with the coming of industry. But as more people were driven off the land and had to rely on work to survive, they didn't want to compete with kids for labor.
Also, on the farm, there was personal trust/bond between father and son on the fields. But in factories, kids were ordered about by strangers without the personal touch. So, it seemed crueler. A child toiling on the farm at least knew that his father cared about him. But a child toiling in the factory was just a cog in the machine.
Also, as industries grew heavier, work got more dangerous, and so adults were favored over kids.
Also, jobs became more crucial for survival as people moved off the land. Before the rise of industry, a man could eke out a living off the land. But off the land, he needed wages to buy bread. Thus, adults really needed jobs. (Today, many Americans tolerate illegal immigrants because they can rely on welfare to provide them with the means to have a roof over their heads and food on the table.)

And as society got more complex and there were opportunities for greater success, education became the key. Thus, in order to have a more just and equal society, all children had to be provided with basic education.
In the past in agricultural societies, there was little possibility for social mobility for farming folks. Sons farmed like their fathers did. There was the equality of poverty for all, therefore less reason for class resentment.
But in modern world, some people could rise very high, and thus income differences became a major social and political issue. So, to make things more equal for all kids, there was end of child labor and rise of public education.
But then, too much of a good thing can be a bad thing. Today, kids who are no good at school and would do better to start training and working early in life are held back in schools where they just learn to goof off and develop no work ethic.

Anyway, Lazy Fair didn't invent child labor but inherited it from social tradition where most children worked. If anything, Lazy Fair eventually brought about the forces and changes that brought an end to child labor.
Blaming Lazy Fair for child labor is like blaming whites for slavery. Slavery had always existed, and it was whites who came to eradicate slavery because they developed a new system that no longer needed slavery.
Similarly, Lazy Fair inherited and used child labor but produced the economic and social forces that finally brought child labor to an end. Without the rise of capitalism, child labor would still be the defacto economic rule all over the world. For one thing, without capitalism, there would be far less goods and services, which means even kids would have to help out to make ends meet.

Anonymous said...

What's up with whim protecting Johnson and that punk Andrew Roberts all the time?

SFG said...

Ideology? British industrialists wanted low wages so they could make higher profits, like any other capitalist.

You're probably right that a long history of high wages helped keep socialism at bay in America.

Svigor said...

Having never worked in a sheet metal factory, I couldn't say for sure, but I would guess that there are a lot of opportunities for sheet metal workers to lose fingers or even heads without adequate adult supervision.

I wouldn't know about the factories, but yes, working with sheet metal is a great way to get scars.

Bostonian said...

Steve Sailer knows that lots of people with IQ < 85 are not smart enough to get a real high school education (including, for example, an Algebra I course). They should be working from age 14 or so, if they are not learning anything more in school.

Svigor said...

Legalize child labor! Legalize prostitution! Viva liberty! (and down with arithmetic!)

I thought the standard libertarian argument for child labor was that a lot of kids would get more out of a job sweeping floors than they get shooting spitballs at their teachers.

Which makes so much sense, considering they can't even employ teenagers any more, give our open borders, which they support.

Couldn't we also make a libertarian argument for slavery? I mean, you know, right of contract, and stuff?

Svigor said...

Ideology? British industrialists wanted low wages so they could make higher profits, like any other capitalist.

Well, yeah, but libertarian ideology is the justification thereof.

Eric said...

I support child labor because I was briefly a child laborer (thought work: running a register for a family business) and because I would prefer teenage years be more like young adulthood and less like old childhood.

I agree, but I don't see how it could happen without a complete overhaul of the schools. As it is people at that age are wholly unprepared for anything except more school.

Anonymous said...

Kids still basically work on the farm(and basically always have), but then farms tend to be somewhat safer than smelting operations.

Anonymous said...

The British economy was also increasingly financialized.

Financialization is when producers and industrialists are not able to invest in new physical capital equipment or buildings because they're obliged to use their operating revenue to pay their bankers and bondholders. The "aim" of financialization is not to provide tangible capital formation or rising living standards, but to generate interest, financial fees for underwriting mergers and acquisitions, and capital gains that accrue mainly to insiders, headed by upper management and large financial institutions. The growth in this financial and rentier overhead outstrips the contribution of productivity gains for most workers economic welfare.

Default User said...

Even Google yearns for those good-old Dickensian days.

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Luke Lea said...

"The key to economic prosperity is not low wages but high human capital."

The key to economic prosperity is a high ratio of capital to labor and shorter working hours mandated through wage-and-hour laws.

In a world of free trade it might also require wage subsidies financed by a graduated expenditure tax (GET) which is like an income tax but with savings tax exempt. GET for GATT

I side benefit of GET is that it requires the registration of all bank and brokerage accounts around the world, an end to shell corporations, and shutting down tax-havens where ever they might exist. Organized crime would find it hard to operate.

That would be a diplomatic advance. Western democracies might actually begin to leverage their collective economic muscle to enforce civilized norms of international behavior.

Eric said...

Libertarians - at least how they are represented by ironically named "Reason" magazine, are rich liberals who want to get high, not pay taxes and have cheap maids clean up everything.

I used to self-identify as a libertarian. I'm a fiscal conservative, but socially I'm more of a "live and let live" guy. When you tell people you're a conservative they sometimes assume you want to bring back prohibition and prayer in the schools.

But "libertarian" isn't any better. Leftists who just want to get high without worrying about cops, like Bill Maher, call themselves libertarians. So do anarchists who think we'd all be happier living in armed compounds with no state interference at all, minting our own money, say, or using shell casings. And everything in between.

Most of them think we need far less government and lower taxes, but there's no agreement on which taxes and which services would get the ax.

Every political label has this problem to some extent, as there's only so many that normal people can keep track of at any given time. But the word "libertarian" covers too much area to be useful.

Anonymous said...

Like William Wilberforce, the victor over the slave trade, Shaftesbury was a Tory, an evangelical Anglican, and a relentless parliamentarian.

amazing how history books and secular humanists air brush this stuff out (from the lives of great artists too)

There was even some clown posting on Isteve that tried to claim that 'free thinkers' abolished the slave trade. As likely as Whiskey's 'WASP's running harvard and Hollywood.

Anonymous said...

the big nonprofit foundations funded by the plutocrats give money to certain types of academics: 1) race-conscious, gender-conscious fakeleftist/liberals. Why? Racial integration helps the rich by increasing the supply of labor and 2) decreases the ability of the populace to control the govt because racial integration splinters/divides/factionalizes the electorate, thus weakening voter unity and ensuring that the electorate is less able to elect politicians who can represent their interests

and

2) libertarians because the ideas from them are rightwing economically.

You may now return to your regularly scheduled pseudo-political discussion.

Jeff W. said...

In order to create a fire, you need three things: fuel, oxygen, and heat.

In order to create economic prosperity, you need three things: well-directed capital, intelligent and industrious workers, and customers.

People who earn low wages do not make good customers. In order to achieve prosperity, you have to find customers somewhere. That's what people forget when they talk about the benefits of low wages.

Ward said...

" - High wages can often spur technological advances that more than make up for their costs.

- The key to economic prosperity is not low wages but high human capital."


This is why Germany can remain a highly competitive and succesful country despite the fact that a number of countries in Asia have lower cost workers.

Sam said...

"Steve Sailer knows that lots of people with IQ < 85 are not smart enough to get a real high school education (including, for example, an Algebra I course). They should be working from age 14 or so, if they are not learning anything more in school."

- Most people should work as teens regardless of IQ for the simple fact that it teaches them some good lessons about the world, the value of money, and the value of an education. I have a decent job as a research scientist and it is in part due to the fact that after working a number of crappy McJobs before getting a degree I was highly motivated to study my tail off to make sure I didn't have to get treated like a pair of hands for the rest of my life, for $5 an hour.

Ron Swanson said...

Listen Steve, I know you don't take my philosophy seriously b/c I'm not some bigwig writer at Taki's. I'm just the head of the Parks and Recreation department at Pawnee, IN. I'm also a libertarian, and I don't really believe in my job. Still, I work hard to make sure my department is as small and as ineffective as possible.

The whole point of this country is if you want to eat garbage, balloon up to 600 pounds and die of a heart attack at 43, you can! You are free to do so. To me, that's beautiful. In other words, the less I know about other people's affairs, the happier I am. I'm not interested in caring about people. I once worked with a guy for three years and never learned his name. Best friend I ever had. We still never talk sometimes.

I think the entire government should be privatized. Chuck E. Cheese could run the parks. Everything operated by tokens. Drop in a token, go on the swing set. Drop in another token, take a walk. Drop in a token, look at a duck. With the city's current budget problems, I'm an official member of a task force dedicated to slashing the city budget. (Just saying that gave me a semi.) They say we need to cut current expenditures by 32 percent. I say, let's make it an even 40. I have so many ideas. Some are simple like take down traffic lights and eliminate the post office. The bigger ones will be tougher, like 'bring all this crumbling to the ground.'

I'd continue to expound my libertarian beliefs but, there's a grade schooler in the hallway asking about local government. It’s never too early to learn that the government is a greedy piglet that suckles on a taxpayer’s teet until they have sore, chapped nipples.

I’m gonna need a different metaphor to give this nine year old.

END OF SPEECH.

Anonymous said...

This article is relevant:

http://michael-hudson.com/1997/05/theories-of-economic-obsolescence-revisited/

"The implications of technological change, industrial head starts and the causes of economic backwardness were analyzed above all by American economists in the mid-19th century who no longer are well remembered today: Calvin Colton, Henry Carey and E. Peshine Smith. These writers were associated with Whig (and, after 1853, Republican) politicians in shaping the industrial policies that transformed the United States from a raw-materials producing (“Southern”) economy into the world’s major industrial power as a “Northern” economy.

Members of the American School typically are dismissed (if they are discussed at all) as protectionists. A more accurate name for them would be technology theorists, futurists or prototypical systems analysts. Their Theory of Productive Powers focused on industrial and agricultural technology, especially the substitution of capital for labor and land."

"The American School of political economists reflected their nation’s position as a “less developed country.” They did not want to develop in the “normal” way, as a “hewer of wood and drawer of water” providing raw materials to help England remain workshop of the world. Viewing this as mal-development, they wanted to create something more than “economic growth” — a new kind of economic civilization based on the productive powers of capital, above all energy-driven, mechanized production. It was recognized that this high-productivity capital required skilled high-wage labor as operators and managers."

"American economists also perceived another fact that British economists overlooked: The machinery that displaced mainly the most poorly paid manual labor needed skilled high-wage labor to operate it, as well as to design and build it. “It is not by reducing wages that America is making her conquests,” U.S. Labor Secretary Jacob Schoenhof (1884:19) concluded, “but by her superior organization, greater efficiency of labor consequent upon the higher standard of living ruling in the country. . . . High-priced labor countries are everywhere beating ‘pauper-labor’ countries.”

Steam-powered production not only increased labor productivity, it threatened to render unskilled and low-wage labor redundant, not only at home but in less industrialized countries. Instead of these poorer countries “rich” in low-wage labor developing a comparative advantage in “labor-intensive” manufactures, there was no such thing as inherently labor-intensive manufactures — or land-intensive agriculture, for that matter. In every sector, labor was being replaced by capital. This was the universal dynamic of industrial progress. Countries that failed to mechanize their production thus were in danger of finding their labor forces becoming industrially obsolete. Low wages were a curse, not an advantage."

Anonymous said...

"Then, the greatest reformer of the Victorian Era, Anthony Ashley Cooper, the seventh Earl of Shaftesbury, began his almost endless crusade to abolish child labor inside chimney"

That communist.


"
Steve Sailer knows that lots of people with IQ < 85 are not smart enough to get a real high school education (including, for example, an Algebra I course). They should be working from age 14 or so, if they are not learning anything more in school."

You have a point, but won't they undercut adult wages?

Anonymous said...

"Ron Swanson is a very funny character on the sometimes funny show Parks & Recreation. "

FTFY

How child labor laws are ruining this country.

English Oik said...

Brilliant post.

Its posts like this that mark you out IMHO as the most consistently interesting writer on the internet - and therefore practically everywhere.

If an attempt at this piece was in the Guardian, written by a Guardian blogger, the Keith Joseph intellectual source of Thatcherism wouldn't even get a mention. It would all be "it was Thatch wot did it" over and over again, just playing to the gallery with nothig interesting to say.

I could make more points, but hey! You da man!

Nuff said.

Anonymous said...

Steve, just a heads up.

I clicked on your donate button and was redirected to a Paypal page with the notice "This recipient is currently unable to receive money."

Perhaps it would be worthwhile to double-check your donation buttons and/or your Paypal account?

beowulf said...

Its like Cambridge economist Ha-Joon Chang said:
“There is no such thing as a free market...
In 1890, England’s laws prevented child laborers under 9 from working. Kids 10-16 had working hours restricted to 12 hours a day. These laws only applied to cotton factories. Even this met strict opposition from free market types who felt freedom of contract superseded this. Child labor is the strongest regulation of labor markets — it could be keeping 40% of the workforce (kids 5-16 or 18) out of the labor market. But we accept this as standard, not regulation.
In contrast, this is still seen as a regulation in poor developing countries. Like beauty, freedom of market in the eye of the beholder.... Free market types categorize regulations they don’t like as politically motivated. But since markets don’t exist freely, that view is totally political. When you break from the myth of market objectivity you can really understand capitalism."

http://10tonfunk.tumblr.com/post/4052159020/notes-from-ha-joon-changs-lecture-at-nyu-on-23-things

milam command said...

Steve is a smart guy who gets stupid when he starts talking about libertarianism.

Child labor was, of course, the rule in human history. The Dickensian horrors of child labor only seem horrible in comparison to the prosperity of today. Its end was enabled by the rising standard of living that "libertarian" economics hastened.

Steve hates libertarians because, more than anything, he hates illegal immigration, and most (but by no means all) libertarians are open-boarders advocates.

As a closed-borders libertarian, like Hoppe, I wish he'd stop these silly rants.

Anonymous said...

Just a wild guess, but if you want to know why Libertarians are doing back flips to get more cheap labor into the U.S.. Just look at who funds the leading Libertarian institutions. Do these wealthy Libertarians doing all the funding employ thousands of unskilled laborers?

Anonymous said...

Around midnight a few months ago I went to my bank to deposit a check at the ATM. When I'm pulling up a 6 or 7 year old Latino kid bounds out the front door of the bank to empty trashcans. No doubt working as his mother's or father's assistant.

I've seen kids around 10 years old working on landscaping crews and some even running heavy equipment like 36" commercial mowers. We're getting the immigrants and the child labor. I assume libertarians would be excited by scenes like this.

jody said...

speaking of chicken, an engineer from georgia tech may have solved the problem of how to get a machine to debone a chicken, with a robot he has been working on for 8 years. from the wall street journal:

http://tinyurl.com/6t979dd

it may gradually remove human laborers from slaughterhouses. in fact, the trend of robots automating things and eliminating jobs for low intelligence people, is a topic for social science to explore in the coming decades.

speaking of industrial revolution england, in the thread about english engineering from eariler this week, i missed one of the most important guys. maybe THE most important guy in the entire industrial revolution. henry bessemer, and his bessemer process for making steel. before bessemer, iron was the material humans used to build stuff. iron is relatively weak and steel is relatively strong, but there was no cheap way to make steel in mass quantities.

after bessemer introduced his steel making process in 1860 or so, the world was transformed. humans made the transition from using iron as their primary contruction material to using steel. trains, train track, bridges, tools and weapons were now made with steel and were much stronger. the bessemer process enabled new categories of construction. steel ships for war and trade, cars, tanks, and eventually skyscrapers - tall buildings must be able to sway and lean and stone cannot flex without breaking, but steel can, while also being strong. almost all the steel in the world came from the bessemer process between 1860 and 1950.

i should have got that one but even i tend to forget engineering stuff, especially materials science, since it is seamless and invisible on purpose. i grew up in pittsburgh and the city was the heart of the steel industry in the united states, powered by the bessemer process, and the main source of andrew carnegie's empire and fortune. although the pittsburgh steel industry was mostly gone by the time i was around.

jody said...

gummic makes a good post about child labor. interestingly, the obama administration is trying to stop children and even teenagers from working on their parent's farms. "child labor" never went away on farms, not even in the US, the most advanced nation in history. although the obama initiatives seem more like out of touch urban lawyers trying to force rural people to live how they want them to live, rather than a legal movement towards more humane treatment of minors.

Anonymous said...

Some cultures are into haggling. Haggling is time-consuming and stressful, which is why Italians are so nuts.

Some cultures are into hustling. Hustling is slick and sleazy, which is so many blacks are untrustworthy.

Some cultures are into honoring. Honoring makes for order and stability but lack of vibrancy and reform, which is why the business climate in Japan is so repressive and stilted.

Some cultures are into hand-shaking. Hand-shaking makes for contracts and understanding based on law and dignity, which is why Anglo-America was so great.

Anonymous said...

The 19th century provides a lot of problems for libertarians, because the British neatly showed that libertarian industrial "policy" is a disaster, while America demonstrated that libertarian financial "policy" is likewise ruinous. Kind of a one-two punch.

For the first issue they only have non-answers to the effect that it wasn't that bad, and child labor used to be so normal, how bad could it be, etc. Of course it was that bad, and the fact that child labor works well enough on farms is beside the point. Farms aren't factories.

I'm sure you know that a bigger problem in England was with child textile workers, who outnumbered the chimney-sweeps considerably. They weren't as likely to die on the job, of course, but they led rather dismal lives, not too different from third-world kids toiling in some clothing factory today - and they drove down the price of labor, especially since parents had an incentive to spawn enormous families; a five-year-old could earn an adult wage.

Meanwhile anyone who wants a gold standard, and free the banks to circulate notes again, has to reckon with the continual financial crises in the United States when we actually had such a system - or, you know, resort to revisionist history just as they do with Britain.

Daybreaker said...

Svigor: "Couldn't we also make a libertarian argument for slavery? I mean, you know, right of contract, and stuff?"

Sure, but not if it would bring back nightmare memories of Negro slavery, so recently ended in America, that's if it was every really ended (in recieved opinion) considering the inequality of outcomes in the American economy.

Now liberating slavery (analogous to liberating intolerance), slavery that exempted all legally protected groups, but included an element of social justice, of reparations, and of re-education, bringing the oppressors face to face with the conditions that they so recently inflicted on the Other - that is something that libertarians and liberals might be able to agree on.

Mr. Anon said...

"Anonymous milam command said...

Steve is a smart guy who gets stupid when he starts talking about libertarianism."

My experience is that libertarians get stupid when they start talking about libertarianism. Most libertarians wouldn't last a year in a country of their own design.

Anonymous said...

High wages can often spur technological advances that more than make up for their costs. - The key to economic prosperity is not low wages but high human capital.

Indeed this was well understood and expected several decades ago, before relentless propaganda buried it way down the memory hole.

There was a book published in 1967 called “The American Challenge,” by the French writer J. J. Servan-Schreiber that became a global best-seller.

Servan-Schreiber argued that the dynamic forces of technology and education in the U.S. were leaving the rest of the world behind, and foresaw, by 2000, a post-industrial utopia in America. Time and space would no longer be barriers to communication, income inequality would shrink, and computers would set people free: “There will be only four work days a week of seven hours per day. The year will be comprised of 39 work weeks and 13 weeks of vacation. . . . All this within a single generation.”

Anonymous said...

This is why Germany can remain a highly competitive and succesful country despite the fact that a number of countries in Asia have lower cost workers.

Good point. Unions are strong in Germany, there are lots of government regulations, stores are closed on Sundays, etc.

Anonymous said...

I don't believe Steve ever leaned libertarian because his utter inability to mock it effectively demonstrates he never felt it in his bones.

No libertarian hankers for the glories of child labor. They merely note that in societies where the most productive laborers are pathetically unproductive, there's not enough surplus to support a lot of people who don't work.

Child labor laws can boost wages slightly by limiting supply but not nearly enough to compensate for the lost productivity that comes with slashing the work force by a quarter. So everyone is worse off, including the kids. (No, they're not going to school because societies where workers generate little surplus cannot collect enough taxes for universal quality schooling. Sorry.)

If you think that the reason kids don't suffer Dickensian work lives in the U.S. is because of laws rather than increased wealth and increased returns to education, you're just being stupid.

TGGP said...

I was also disappointed by "Modern Times". He pushes Rothbard's line on the Great Depression, handwaving away the lack of inflation. Also, lots and lots of special pleading.

agnostic said...

"Child labor was, of course, the rule in human history."

Youngsters among Bushmen are called by the adults "owners of the shade." Meaning they pick some berries here, tend to a younger sibling there, but mostly are provided for by mom and dad. The Ozzie and Harriet family model is pretty typical for hunter-gatherers.

Among horticulturalists, boys might have some pigs that they watch over, but most work is again done by the parents. Mom works like a slave in the garden, while dad protects against raiders and goes on raids of his own.

Pastoralist children do more work, but not an awful lot. Young girls help out with milking the livestock, and young boys escort other parts of the herd out to get water and pasture. Still, not a hard life of labor for kids. The hardest that kids have it is preparing for the older age classes, toughening themselves up for armed raids, etc.

Agriculturalists seem to use the most child labor, although even there it's not at Dickensian levels. Child labor didn't build the Pyramids. They had plenty of able-bodied adolescent / young adult slaves for that. It's mind-numbing and boring more than anything: digging weeds, grinding grain, etc. But not polluting or exploitative.

The shorter proof that Industrial Age child labor was off in a class of its own was that people said so at the time. If it wasn't so different from what came before, they wouldn't have made such a big stink, as they had not done before then.

Power Child said...

Eric said: "When you tell people you're a conservative they sometimes assume you want to bring back prohibition."

It's weird, too, because prohibition (of both alcohol and drugs) was initially a centerpiece cause of the Progressives. Check out who lined up to support the Harrison Act, for example. Conservatives were apprehensive, and some--including at least one Supreme Court Justice--even outright opposed to it.

Anonymous said...

Meanwhile anyone who wants a gold standard, and free the banks to circulate notes again, has to reckon with the continual financial crises in the United States when we actually had such a system - or, you know, resort to revisionist history just as they do with Britain.

I used to be a glod believer until i thought about it. Eventually I came to the conclusion that the price of gold (like any commodity) is too prone to market pressure from speculators and you want a currency that isn't subject to wild bubble/burst swings (in order to be *useful* as medium of exchange). Fiat money theoretically performs this function well. The problem is that it gives goverments an opportunity to tax through debasing the currency, and our corrupt western governments do that with abandon. Therefore, even though gold isn't the ideal currency it would probably better than what we've got.

Note that modern economists tell us that continual inflation is good. Of course that's horse crap. What perpetual inflation does, is demoralise everyone who isn't superwealthy (since they can't hold on to what they've earned), but maybe that's the intention.

Anyway the fetishisation of gold that occurs in some corners of the web (like Lew Rockwell.com) makes no sense. They talk about gold like it has some kind of inherent value. It doesn't and industrial use for gold is a relatively new thing. The value of gold is a sort of mass-illusion, but the same is true of all currency.

Anonymous said...

http://www.worldaffairsjournal.org/article/next-greece-sketch-spain

Reg Cæsar said...

Tyler Cowen is employed by a public university. He lives off taxpayer money.



That describes just about every libertarian I can think of. For a movement which is supposedly all about the "free movement of labor" and the evils of government, a truly remarkable number of leading libertarians are members of government guilds...


Libertarian economists have no choice but to work at public universities: there's an inverse relationship between the amount of government desired by a university's economics department and the amount of government involved in the founding of said university. It's no accident that the libertarian hotbeds are publicly funded Auburn and George Mason--the Ivies want Reds!

Not that there's a sharp line between the two sectors. "Private" schools thrive on myriad government contracts, while any "public" school with a bowl-quality football squad will boast a giant private endowment, thanks to alumni.

DR said...

Yes, because living standards in Victorian Britain were entirely due to the government "not doing enough."

Pay no attention to the fact that GDP in Victorian Britain was less than $3200 a year.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_regions_by_past_GDP_(PPP)_per_capita

Why, just look at the modern post-Progressive era. A most enlightened era when those libertarian thugs have been beaten. Compare countries with similar levels of economic development today, to those that match Victorian Britain.

We have India (GDP per capita $3600), Vietnam ($3300), Nicaragua ($3200), Iraq ($3800), Republic of the Congo ($4600), Bolivia ($4800), Swaziland ($5300).

Of course all of these countries are significantly less libertarian than Victorian Britain. Just look at their Economic Freedom Index scores.

Therefore we know because of the horrors of libertarianism, that non-libertarian countries at the same level of economic development must be oh so much better than their brutish libertarian equivalents.

Certainly no one would find any fodder for a Dickens novel in any of the above nations that I just mentioned.


I really wish Steve would be around in the year 2100. Just so someone would make the same hare-brained half argument and try to claim that the progress from 100 years of economic development was actually do to the Obama and post-Obama era.

Anonymous said...

http://www.worldaffairsjournal.org/blog/michael-j-totten/arab-spring-spreads-non-arab-lands

Reg Cæsar said...

Since low-wage immigrants can't survive without state aid, how is "open borders" even a libertarian position?

At the very least, it would have to be "open borders for the self-sufficient"-- which would disqualify at least three-quarters of today's immigrant flow.

Anonymous said...

Truth be told, child labor was the norm throughout recorded Brtish history - until the Victorians stopped it.It is likely that more child labor was used in the Tudor, Stuart, Georgian periods, the middle and dark ages than in the Victorian era.
Lest we forget, factories, as we understand them didn't exist prior to the 18th century, all production was carried out in family run workshops or in agriculture - it was here that the bulk of child labor occurred, children prior to the era of universal education were more or less expected to help out in the fields or the tailor's shop or whatever. The cash economy as we understand more or less didn't exist and the family unit had to be pretty self-sufficient.
It was only the transfer of employment from subsistence to cash and wages based capitalism that spurred on the reformers, basically it's difficult to lambast parents for exploiting children, but it's much easier to lambast profit driven big business.

Anonymous said...

Here I think Johnson is wrong in his interpretation of Malthus and Ricardo.
Both of them took no pleasure whatsoever in working class poverty (Malthus was a clergyman), they were unhappy about the state of working class and sought to discover the roots of poverty and formulate remedies - the idea that they were 'prophets of low wage capitalist exploitation' is simply wrong.
Malthus came to the unhappy conclusion that the working class was always disadvantaged simply because of the law of supply and demand and rising birth rates - unfortunately he was unable to offer a remedy to this gloomy state - basically he was right and continues to be right.
Ricardo worked in a similiar vein, his 'iron law of wages' (ie reproduction plus subsistence) was NOT a recommendation of low pay, but, as he saw it, a true description of reality, competition, suplly and demand. In fact it's very relevant to modern neo-con open borders, free trade USA.

Anonymous said...

In actual fact, unlimited, uncontrolled immigration from nations that have fractional wages compared to the host country is far, far more 'exploitative' (if we take that word meaning screwing the working class to the full extent possible), than child labor ever was.
Child labor was accpeted as the norm in pre Victorian Britain, if was always thus and besides kids never competed with adult men for the same job, mostly they were learning a trade and generally 'helping' in providing an extra pair of hands and doing menial cleaning up etc. As such they contributed to family income (remember this was the norm in those days). It was only later when attitudes changed that the idea of forcing children to work was felt to be repugnant (but not, curiously, forcing them to go to school against their will).
Uncontrolled immigration of low wage paupers (of which there are untold billions ready, willing and able), is more vicious to a working class in that it will ensure that wages can never, ever rise above subsistence due to simple supply and demand. Basically no matter how low wages fall, they'll will always be a third world pauper to under-cut you.

Peter A said...

Child labor was, of course, the rule in human history.

Slavery was also the rule in human history. Infanticide, public executions and torture have also been a feature of almost all human civilizations. What is your point?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

I don't believe Steve ever leaned libertarian because his utter inability to mock it effectively demonstrates he never felt it in his bones.



I thought he did a decent job mocking it. The main difficulty in mocking libertarianism is that what libertarians actually believe is so absurd that satirizing it becomes difficult.

Norville Rogers said...

Child labor laws, as with regs on smoking and environmental despoliation, resulted from the designated problem becoming less common. The invention of the cotton gin likewise inspired many industrialists' opposition to slavery.

"Having never worked in a sheet metal factory"

I think anybody who's read you on a regular basis wouldn't expect a long resume of factory jobs.

Matko said...

What, in the end, is Steve's view on economics? Putting aside the question of immigration, is he an economic liberal, a protectionist, mercantilist, or something completely different?

Libertarianism (in USA) is often treated as a loony position, but one should not therefore disparage classical liberalism for it.

neil craig said...

The comparison of the creulty of Victorian child labour laws should not be with kids nowadays having free time to be couch potatoes but with the alternative available at the time and previously - having the kids working 10 hours a day on the farm. The same applies to those poor kids in Asian swartshops making a dollar a day - if we force the closure of them their alternatives are worse.

Dan said...

To me, one of the biggest arguments against mass immigration is ecological. Africa, India and China are all ecological disasters: littered with trash (Africa, India), with unbreathable air (India and China), elimination of much green space (India and China), undrinkable water (all three) and with native species under grave threat (all three). Much of the same can be said for Mexico and many other countries.

America has made some headway in some environmental aspects (e.g. air and water quality, trash, some species protection) since the 1970s but all that is being reversed. Already, immigration has been helping to push people out into the exurbs and undeveloped land is rapidly receding. Water problems plague the American West.

This is an argument that carries strong weight with the left.

Rohan Swee said...

A: I don't believe Steve ever leaned libertarian because his utter inability to mock it effectively demonstrates he never felt it in his bones.

B: The main difficulty in mocking libertarianism is that what libertarians actually believe is so absurd that satirizing it becomes difficult.

A: Steve is a smart guy who gets stupid when he starts talking about libertarianism.

B: My experience is that libertarians get stupid when they start talking about libertarianism.

A: If you think that the reason kids don't suffer Dickensian work lives in the U.S. is because of laws rather than increased wealth and increased returns to education, you're just being stupid.

A: "You're stupid."

B: "No, you're stupid".

A: "No, you're stupid."

B: "I know you are but what am I?"

A: "Stupid stupid person!"

B: "Stupid stupid stupid person!"


For the record, I agree with B.

kaganovitch said...

As Werner Sombart wrote "on the twin reefs of roast beef and apple sauce did socialist utopias of every sort founder in america"

Anonymous said...

Well, I agree with you there on child labor but most of England in 1800 was under the age of 20 and child labor goes back to anicent and medieval times and its the main reason why kids work in factories because they had work on farms. Personality, British Labor became far to the left I think around the 1920's when it had already created a welfare state and far from the old days. As for child labor in third world countries like England and the US and Germany in the 19th century it needs to be gradually done away with. Some countries that at the least developed can have 12 year old working while more developed countries can ban most labor under 16 and 18.

NOTA said...

Anon 5:07:

In ethnic restaurants with surly waiters, ugly women, packed full of sinister-looking foreigners chatting in incomprehensible languages. But with really, really good food.

Kylie said...

"The shorter proof that Industrial Age child labor was off in a class of its own was that people said so at the time. If it wasn't so different from what came before, they wouldn't have made such a big stink, as they had not done before then."

I'm no historian but it seems to me people then made such a big stink not because child labor was so different from what came before as because the ways of looking at people had changed.

Substitute slavery for child labor in the preceding paragraph. Was the slavery of Africans by Europeans really worse than the slavery that had existed for centuries before? Or had some momentous shift in thinking changed how Europeans viewed both the ownership of other people and making children work?

Yes, I am alluding to the crummy old Enlightenment.

NOTA said...

Sam 7:34:

Amen. I'm also a working researcher, and I also had what appeared to me to be every shitty low-skill job in the world in high school and college. That was both useful in terms of getting used to the fundamentally unsympathetic nature of the world (the manager at the McDonalds is supremely uninterested in your girlfriend drama, homework burden, and hangover, she just wants you there on time and working), and in terms of encouraging me to get a decent education so I didn't end up a couple hops up from those jobs for life.

Kylie said...

"Lest we forget, factories, as we understand them didn't exist prior to the 18th century, all production was carried out in family run workshops or in agriculture - it was here that the bulk of child labor occurred, children prior to the era of universal education were more or less expected to help out in the fields or the tailor's shop or whatever."

Yes and in much of the West, this expectation continued well into the twentieth century, as contemporaneous accounts confirm. The section on schools in Akenfield mentions farmers coming to school during the harvest to haul their workers' children out of class to help them. in To Kill a Mockingbird, small children old enough to help their farming families are referred to as "field size".

I read somewhere that until WWII, only about a third of American children graduated high school because most worked for a living once they entered their teens.

Atoz said...

" - High wages can often spur technological advances that more than make up for their costs.

- The key to economic prosperity is not low wages but high human capital."


This is why Germany can remain a highly competitive and succesful country despite the fact that a number of countries in Asia have lower cost workers.


For this to happen you need a patriotic industrial class. Or high tarrifs.

Anonymous said...

Gnp for all countries was much lower in the 19thcentury. GNP of the Roman Empire was a little over a 1000.

NOTA said...

It's worth making a distinction between libertarianism as a direction you'd like to move policy in, or as an endpoint you'd like to reach. Most of the time, I'm libertarian in the first sense--I would like to see a smaller, less intrusive, less powerful, less centralized government and correspondingly lower taxes, alongside balanced budgets most years. But there are plenty of implications of pure libertarian ideas (eliminating child labor laws, eliminating public education, unrestricted open borders, enforceable contracts for indentured servitude) that I would actively oppose.

It seems to me that think tanks and ideological publications tend to draw a very unhealthy version of any political/social ideology. On one hand, an ideological think tank or publication will demand adherence to certain points of doctrine, and will reward ideological purity over actually understanding and describing the world as it exists. On the orher hand, think tanks have donors who must be kept happy, which means some libertarian/conservative/liberal/green ideas are encouraged and supported, and others are discouraged and not supported.

Pundits and think-tank emoloyed intellectuals tend to have rather uniform views on subjects like immigration, US foreign policy wrt Israel, financial regulation, free trade, etc. People who take the wrong sides of these issues have a harder time finding employment in those jobs, get fewer TV appearances and op eds.

Understanding the incentives of the intellectual class is terribly important, in the long run. If a few thousand people have jobs that let them spend all their time thinking and writing and arguing about big political and social issues, and everyone else does it in their spare time, there is a huge advantage to the side of any issue that can coopt a big majority of the paid intellectuals to their side. That's probably more important, long term, than any number of other seemingly critical drivers of our society.

Anonymous said...

Brilliant? How about sanctimonious and hypocritical. Ohhhhh,it was so morally relativistic and evil to bomb Dresden but as for nuking the Japs? They deserved it. If Johnson's point is whites ought not kill whites, that's cool. But he invokes universal morality for tribal/racial interests and denies it to Others.

I'll eat my hat if this isn't a gross parody of Johnson's argument.

Cennbeorc

Sheila said...

Vanishing American did a post on this subject, with a link to a fascinating Russian website featuring photos of American child laborers: http://vanishingamerican.blogspot.com/2012/05/not-always-good-old-days.html

Anonymous said...

On the other hand, the more rural countries of Europe got more excited about Communistism, Russia being one. In fact, Russia being an Orthodox country emphasis community over the indivdual and in the US the Eastern Orthodox tend to support the democratic party. England offspring in the US mainly protestants tend to vote more Repblican. Protestants outside of the leadership of the main line churches tend to not support the dems as much as Roman Catholics and Eastern Orthodox. In fact Roman Catholic Italy like the Communists more than most protestant countries. Greece had support by Orthodox clergy even if their fellow orthodox had suffered in Eastern Europe for communists. Think the Green Patriach of Constaninople that prefers meeting with Obama over Geroge W Bush.

Anonymous said...

Pay no attention to the fact that GDP in Victorian Britain was less than $3200 a year.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_regions_by_past_GDP_(PPP)_per_capita


Why, just look at the modern post-Progressive era. A most enlightened era when those libertarian thugs have been beaten. Compare countries with similar levels of economic development today, to those that match Victorian Britain.

We have India (GDP per capita $3600), Vietnam ($3300), Nicaragua ($3200), Iraq ($3800), Republic of the Congo ($4600), Bolivia ($4800), Swaziland ($5300).

Less snark, please. It makes you sound stupid.

The obvious counterpoint to your argument is that countries with per capita GDPs of $3000-$5000 benefit from a trickle-down effect from the advanced countries, which are 10 times as rich. For example, they can order up the world's most advanced technology - they have to pay for it, but they don't have to invent it.

Victorian Britain was the richest country in the world (or, second to the USA?) at time, and they produced their wealth with Victorian technology.

The situations aren't comparable.

Cennbeorc

Anonymous said...

Malthus came to the unhappy conclusion that the working class was always disadvantaged simply because of the law of supply and demand and rising birth rates - unfortunately he was unable to offer a remedy to this gloomy state - basically he was right and continues to be right.

Towards the end of his life Malthus concluded that the working class might start having fewer children (through "self-restraint"), if they became used to a higher standard of living and didn't want it reduced by adding extra mouths. In other words, you could have a steady-state society where the majority were not impoverished.

So, late Malthus refuted early Malthus in theory, and also in practice once "self-restraint" was no longer needed to limit fertility.

Cennbeorc

Anonymous said...

"Child labor was, of course, the rule in human history."

Youngsters among Bushmen are called by the adults "owners of the shade." Meaning they pick some berries here, tend to a younger sibling there, but mostly are provided for by mom and dad. The Ozzie and Harriet family model is pretty typical for hunter-gatherers.

Among horticulturalists, boys might have some pigs that they watch over, but most work is again done by the parents. Mom works like a slave in the garden, while dad protects against raiders and goes on raids of his own.

Pastoralist children do more work, but not an awful lot. Young girls help out with milking the livestock, and young boys escort other parts of the herd out to get water and pasture. Still, not a hard life of labor for kids. The hardest that kids have it is preparing for the older age classes, toughening themselves up for armed raids, etc.

Agriculturalists seem to use the most child labor, although even there it's not at Dickensian levels. Child labor didn't build the Pyramids. They had plenty of able-bodied adolescent / young adult slaves for that. It's mind-numbing and boring more than anything: digging weeds, grinding grain, etc. But not polluting or exploitative.

The shorter proof that Industrial Age child labor was off in a class of its own was that people said so at the time. If it wasn't so different from what came before, they wouldn't have made such a big stink, as they had not done before then.

Agnostic, I'm forgiving you all the silly things you've said in the past (and, no doubt, will continue to say), because this is such an excellent observation.

Cennbeorc

pat said...

This is a brilliant posting and the comments are more brilliant yet. I was all set to set the record straight on a number of points about economic history. Too late. Other got there first with better comments than I would have managed.

So I'm forced to predict the future.

Someone speculated on Steve in the year 2100. My speculation is rather more dark. Will there be any people at all in 2100?

James Cameron probably was right. The machines are out to get us. But they don't look much like Arnold Swartzenegger.

Child labor looks like one of the early indicators of our species' approaching doom.

Kids have always been expensive but on the unautomated peasant farm you didn't have to wait all that long for your rug rat to become a positive economic factor. Someone pointed out that that was true also for hunter gatherers. A species with progeny that are even more just a little more economically burdensome than ours probably self extinguishs. In primitive times child labor was needed to justify children at all. Kids had to pay their way just like anyone else.

Early cultures up to at least the Romans accepted infanticide - an economic decision. Moses and Romulus were excess kids who survived exposure. If it came to pass that children were not economically on the right side of the ledger, those hardy early people would just kill them. Child labor saved them.

But no more. Kids still cost a lot but they can't repay their upkeep now for many, many years. Just from an accounting standpoint you might be tempted to predict that people would start to avoid having kids at all. Wait! Isn't that just what we're seeing now among the most advanced societies?

Obama health care package extends childhood dependency now until the kid is 26. The life expectancy in Rome two millennia ago was only 23. Give them free schooling too just exacerbates the trend. We are extending childhood. Soon starting a career where you are self sustaining and contribute to the national wealth will be rare before thirty.

We are in danger of defining ourselves out of existence.

The elimination of child labor is just one sign. For another catch any episode of "How It's Made" on the Science Channel. Sometimes they show actual people working but too often there are these eerie scenes of machines whirring in factories with no humans in sight. Quite soon the sight will also disappear. Now a days they turn off the lights in these hi-tech work places - no humans, no need for lights. In a few years there won't be light switches. Human visitors will be issued flashlights.

First no child labor. Second no adult labor. Third...

It used to take 27 people to build a car in Detroit. Many of them were black people. Today it's down to something like 5. Even if General Motors and Chrysler came roaring back and ran the Germans, Japanese and the other out of the car business. Even if every car made on the planet was made in Detroit. It wouldn't be enough to save the black automobile workers of Detroit. Cars just aren't going to be built by humans much longer.

Albertosaurus

Anonymous said...

I wish I had seen this post earlier on.

Well, nobody really volunteers for child labor. I mean, the children don't, and their parents wouldn't volunteer them either if they weren't coerced into doing so. Child labor is coerced labor..work or else starve or be beaten or be killed. But so is farm labor. Who volunteers for backbreaking low wage farm labor? It is always coerced labor. Do you think Renaissance Technology founder James Simons and his wife Marilynn ever gave a nanosecond of thought to volunteering any of their children for farm labor?

Next point..I get the very strong impression that some people in the immigration reform movement would use the complete shut down of immigrant farm labor labor to make the case not so much for child farm labor..but adult farm labor. But since no one would "volunteer" for farm labor..exactly who would they coerce into farm labor? And how exactly would this forced labor be any different from chattle slavery?

Yes, it is beyond obvious that Libertarians are sociopaths. To be more specific, I agree with Noam Chomsky that Libertarianism minus Socialism is a fate worse than hell. So if you vote for Ron Paul, you are voting for hell itself.

ben tillman said...

To me, one of the biggest arguments against mass immigration is ecological. Africa, India and China are all ecological disasters....

America has made some headway in some environmental aspects (e.g. air and water quality, trash, some species protection) since the 1970s but all that is being reversed. Already, immigration has been helping to push people out into the exurbs and undeveloped land is rapidly receding. Water problems plague the American West.

This is an argument that carries strong weight with the left.


If you like arguments along these lines, you should check out ecologist Garrett Hardin's works if you're unfamiliar with them.

By the way, the immigrants-using-up-our-water argument is one that finally got my wife a bit more interested in immigration control.

Anonymous said...

But since no one would "volunteer" for farm labor..exactly who would they coerce into farm labor? And how exactly would this forced labor be any different from chattle slavery?

No? What if it paid as well as a federal civil servant? Or a lawyer or banker?

Anonymous said...

Albertosaurus--

In primitive times child labor was needed to justify children at all. Kids had to pay their way just like anyone else.

Is "labor" really so bad? Can't it be quite fulfilling, or at least just part of everyday life? What else were our bodies designed to do on this earth but labor for sustenance?

Anonymous said...

Substitute slavery for child labor in the preceding paragraph. Was the slavery of Africans by Europeans really worse than the slavery that had existed for centuries before?



Well, yes. it was. The mass enslavement of Africans by Europeans was a new thing when it started in the 18th century. Africans had of course been slaves to Arabs for centuries before this. But Europeans enslaving Africans was always controversial (among Europeans) .

Anonymous said...

Child labor was, of course, the rule in human history.


Child labor in 19th century industrial England was a qualitatively different thing from that of some child helping his dad on the farm. So was adult labor for that matter.

Hell, there were children performing labor in concentration camps. Only a fool would defend this on the grounds that after all, child labor has been the rule in human history.

Anonymous said...

Is "labor" really so bad? Can't it be quite fulfilling, or at least just part of everyday life? What else were our bodies designed to do on this earth but labor for sustenance?


I'd take this a lot more seriously if any libertarians actually "labored for sustenance" themselves. Listening to libertarians extolling the virtues of hard work always reminds me of neocons extolling the virtues of religious belief or of serving in the military - they think it's a good thing for other people to do but they don't do much of it themselves.

Otis McWrong said...

"Dan said...To me, one of the biggest arguments against mass immigration is ecological. Africa, India and China are all ecological disasters: "

A good point but the most valid argument by far against mass immigration is that the existing population doesn't want it. Left to my own choice, I would choose not to live amongst hordes of foreigners. It doesn't matter whether they drives wages up or down or whether wages going up or down is good or bad. Nor does it matter that they're bad for the environment. The most powerful argument against mass immigration is that they're not wanted.

Anonymous said...

A good point but the most valid argument by far against mass immigration is that the existing population doesn't want it. Left to my own choice, I would choose not to live amongst hordes of foreigners... The most powerful argument against mass immigration is that they're not wanted.

Why don't you want it? It is helpful, pragmatically speaking if nothing else, to give reasons. It's far more persuasive, and persuasiveness may become more important as European power and numbers dwindle into the twilight.

Anonymous said...

Substitute slavery for child labor in the preceding paragraph. Was the slavery of Africans by Europeans really worse than the slavery that had existed for centuries before?

Well, yes. it was. The mass enslavement of Africans by Europeans was a new thing when it started in the 18th century. Africans had of course been slaves to Arabs for centuries before this. But Europeans enslaving Africans was always controversial (among Europeans) .


But the question was, "was it worse?"

Anonymous said...

Otis McWrong

On the one hand you are basically correct. But keep this in mind, the race-replacement issue is very deeply entangled wih the wealth theft and ecology issue.Therefore, make the race-replacement issue in the public pitch..quickly followed by the wealth theft and ecology issue. And here is why. Millions of White Americans are basically inert poltically on the immigration issue...for what ever reasons...cognitive dissonance..psychological discount curve in the face of imminent catastrophe. Our job is to explain in as graphic terms as possible just what the very unpleasant ecological consequences of White American race-replacement are going to be. All the amenties will be gone such as visits to State and National Parks. Life for millions of White Americans is going to be very unpleasant on a greatly reduced living space. Can you imagine what the cost of housing will be in the land scace White regions? You can forget about protecting ecosytems. The Nonwhite regions will be massively overpopulated,polluted, and have severe water shortages. What happens when the White Western States stop shipping water to LA and Southern California? We very well may have reached the point of no return in the catastrophe dimension. If there is a break down of US society caused by overpopulation, I can very easily imagine the return of chattle slavery and and child slavery. There would be no societal,cultural and legal barriers anymore to stop it. And in collapsed post-America "America", it is far from obvious that White Americans couldn't be made into chattle slaves. So we absolutely must talk about the ecological consequences of White American race-replacement.

Kylie said...

"'Substitute slavery for child labor in the preceding paragraph. Was the slavery of Africans by Europeans really worse than the slavery that had existed for centuries before?'



Well, yes. it was. The mass enslavement of Africans by Europeans was a new thing when it started in the 18th century. Africans had of course been slaves to Arabs for centuries before this. But Europeans enslaving Africans was always controversial (among Europeans) ."


But was it worse?

Kylie said...

"Is 'labor' really so bad? Can't it be quite fulfilling, or at least just part of everyday life?"

I think it can, should be and for me, is.

"What else were our bodies designed to do on this earth but labor for sustenance?"

Well, propagate but point taken. I just read another article saying that even with otherwise healthy habits, couch potatoes are at an increased risk for heart disease. Just getting up and moving around is essential to good health. It's what we're hard-wired to do.

As for children, I hope "child labor" with its Dickensian connotations never returns but I do think children should help with the chores essential to the daily routines of family life. It's good for them psychologically and physically and helps keep them out of trouble. If more of people of all ages were tired from a good day's work, society generally would probably be far more pleasant.

Otis McWrong said...

A good point but the most valid argument by far against mass immigration is that the existing population doesn't want it...

""Why don't you want it? It is helpful, pragmatically speaking if nothing else, to give reasons. It's far more persuasive, and persuasiveness may become more important as European power and numbers dwindle into the twilight.""

Ideally I shouldn't have to give any more reason than you would for not inviting homeless people to live in your kitchen. Because its your house. America belongs to Americans - as Japan belongs to the Japanese.

I don't want it for the same reason I choose to live with my family and not complete strangers. I prefer familiarity and similarity in the day-to-day. This is quite a natural human preference. I'm not aware of any society in history that voluntarily chose to be indundated by people of a different culture.

It is not provincialism: I travel extensively for business - both in and out of the US and am quite comfortable operating in different cultures, however it is not home.

If I wanted to live among Mexicans, eat Mexican food, and press 1 for Ingles I would live in Mexico.

Aaron B. said...

"But so is farm labor. Who volunteers for backbreaking low wage farm labor? It is always coerced labor."

I grew up on a farm, and this is the stupidest thing I've read in a while. I worked on the farm because it was a family operation, and because it was a way to earn money. Sometimes pretty good money: I made $50/day sometimes as a 13-year-old, when minimum wage was something like $2.50/hour. It was hard work, but not cruel by any means. I still go help out on the farm when I can because it's often more enjoyable than typing at a keyboard all day.

So no, you don't have to force Americans (child or adult) to work on farms, any more than you have to force illegal aliens to do it. You just have to pay them enough to make it worth it. The counter example I always use is garbageman: in my town (and I assume in others), this is a highly sought-after job, usually requiring some nepotism or a connection to city government to get hired. Is that because people want to pick up garbage all day? No, it's because it pays well and has great benefits. Pay farm workers the same way and Americans will line up to fight over those jobs too.

Anonymous said...

I prefer familiarity and similarity in the day-to-day.

This is the best argument against immigration?

Luke Lea said...

We should remember that the first British textile factories, the ones that started the Industrial Revolution, were manned by young children (not teenagers) predominantly -- orphans contracted out of orphanages in fact -- and that they were forced 12 and 14 hours a day, 6 days a week.

That was new.

Anonymous said...

"Well, yes. it was. The mass enslavement of Africans by Europeans was a new thing when it started in the 18th century. Africans had of course been slaves to Arabs for centuries before this. But Europeans enslaving Africans was always controversial (among Europeans) ."



But was it worse?



You didn't read what I wrote. It was both new and worse.

Anonymous said...

"Is "labor" really so bad? Can't it be quite fulfilling, or at least just part of everyday life? What else were our bodies designed to do on this earth but labor for sustenance?"

It depends on what you do. If you are working for a monstrous corporation sitting at a computer all day, it's pretty bad. It's the psychological factor that really makes it bad.

I've never had a fulfilling job in my life.

In my experience office work of a certain type causes mental illness.
I have seen quite a few people crying at work.

My mental health went down hill when I started to work for corporations.

I wouldn't recommend to anyone working in a corporation at certain kinds of processing work.


Everybody I have worked with has hated their job and hated being there.

Anonymous said...

Why don't you want it? (It being mass immigration)

I have a very, very hard time believing that you have not heard all the answers to this many times before.

1) mass immigration destroys the country receiving the immigrants.

I'll let other people address answers 2 through 10.

Anonymous said...

I have a very, very hard time believing that you have not heard all the answers to this many times before.

1) mass immigration destroys the country receiving the immigrants.


In what way does it destroy the receiving countries? What examples can you offer?

Anonymous said...

Well, yes. it was. The mass enslavement of Africans by Europeans was a new thing when it started in the 18th century. Africans had of course been slaves to Arabs for centuries before this. But Europeans enslaving Africans was always controversial (among Europeans) ."

But was it worse?

You didn't read what I wrote. It was both new and worse.


You gave a sort of explanation for how it might be considered "new," but have given no evidence that I have read for why it was objectively worse.

Anonymous said...

You gave a sort of explanation for how it might be considered "new," but have given no evidence that I have read for why it was objectively worse.


Given that it was "new", that it was "worse" than what came before follows automatically. Unless you think that slavery is not automatically worse than the absence of slavery.

Anonymous said...

In what way does it destroy the receiving countries?



I'm unimpressed by your debating technique of: "Give me good reasons for your beliefs - and they'd better be what I consider to be good reasons".


Read Steve's post which you are (nominally) commenting on. Read the comments left by other people in this comment thread. The reasons why mass immigration is a bad idea have been shoved in front of your eye-balls here today, and I'm certain many times before in many other places.

If you want to disagree with those reasons then go ahead, offering your own reasons.

But don't give me this leftist schtick of "Here I am, a seeker after truth, trying hard to understand your positions - but you just won't explain them intelligently to me".

Drop the act and at least try to carry on a debate in good faith.

Anonymous said...

Given that it was "new", that it was "worse" than what came before follows automatically. Unless you think that slavery is not automatically worse than the absence of slavery.

No, because according to your own history, it was only "new" in the sense that Europeans rather than Arabs were now involved in enslaving blacks. That, I concede was new. It wasn't new in the sense of signalling the coming into being of slavery from the absence of slavery. As you write, Africans had been enslaved for centuries.

In fact, probably a lot of people here would think that European Christians would be more humane than Arabs. So could it not have been "better"?

So once again you have failed to explain what was "worse."

Anonymous said...

In what way does it destroy the receiving countries?

I'm unimpressed by your debating technique of: "Give me good reasons for your beliefs - and they'd better be what I consider to be good reasons".


All you've said is that it "destroys receiving countries," without much if any in the way of explanation. If that is the case, you'll be able to recruit a lot of people to help oppose immigration. Few people want to see their country destroyed. So how does it destroy countries and where specifically should I or others look for substantiation of that assertion?

Anonymous said...

"Libertarianism minus Socialism is a fate worse than hell."

Libertarianism can mean different things, but if it means total freedom of corporations to do what they want then you are right.

Having no money and having to depend on an all powerful company with no constraints for your livelihood is really slavery.

We have wage slavery now, but we still have some constraints on corporations.

Anonymous said...

Well, the poverty rate in the brown belt central Ca to the Texas border in the rural areas is some of the worst in the US, illegal immirgation and mainly corporate farming is the closness in the US to what here is describe in the 19 th century. The colonas in Texas don't always have running water. The other worst belt is the poor white rural areas in WV and Ky and so forth to probably the worst Black rural poverty in MS. Rural areas suck for poverty unless they are many family farms like in the midwest.

Anonymous said...

Aaron B

I have great doubts that as a child you would have volunteered to work down in South Florida on the Fanjul Family's sugar plantation. The condition of the Haitians who work on the Fanjul's plantation can only be described as chattel slavery. There have been two documentaries documenting this:Harvest of Shame 1 and Harvest of Shame 2. And my question still stands:why do some people have to work meaningless,backbreaking, and low wage farm work...and others don't?

There is a limit to the growth of farm wages. A high wage farm economy would usher in the era of mass robotization of farm labor.

The children of the superrich will always have the option of opting out of farm labor. And this is he fundamental point:when people have other options, they will always opt out of degrading forms of labor..low wage farm and factory work. Just how exactly anyone is beter off renting themselves out to the bossman on a farm or in a facory at low wages for eight to twelve hours a day is a mystery to me(I have done both kinds of work).

The neo-classial economic system and the cultural propaganda system that goes a long with it is an attempt to convince vulnerable people about the salubrious effects of coerced low wage labor. There are no saluburious effects.

Anonymous said...

Well, take California it was the hispanization of the state that has lead the left more hellbent. It was a nice equal state about 30 years ago. Even in OC there wer leftist protesting Romeny. These leftist didn't exist when the population was mainly white. You get white lefties but poor hispanic kids and asains kids that resent rich white people. In Texas Austin is another example of hispanization and the left is getting pushing there too. Granted, some exceptions like Vermont and Oregon but the growth of the illegal population has lead to greater interest in the left. When Reagan visited Orange County back in 1980 few protesters but the Mexican population was only 17 percent versus 34 percent today.

Mr. Anon said...

"Anonymous said...

All you've said is that it "destroys receiving countries," without much if any in the way of explanation. If that is the case, you'll be able to recruit a lot of people to help oppose immigration. Few people want to see their country destroyed. So how does it destroy countries and where specifically should I or others look for substantiation of that assertion?"

What site do you think you are on? Read Steve's archives before wasting our time. If you are too stupid to understand why immigration as practiced today is deleterious, then you aren't even worth talking to - just go away.

Anonymous said...

All you've said is that it "destroys receiving countries," without much if any in the way of explanation. If that is the case, you'll be able to recruit a lot of people to help oppose immigration. Few people want to see their country destroyed. So how does it destroy countries and where specifically should I or others look for substantiation of that assertion?



You should read this blog, starting with the post "Economists v. Child Labor and Immigration Laws".

Since you seem to be having trouble with this interweb thingy, you can find that particular post just by scrolling up.

Anonymous said...

No, because according to your own history, it was only "new" in the sense that Europeans rather than Arabs were now involved in enslaving blacks.


That was still "new", for Europeans.


It wasn't new in the sense of signalling the coming into being of slavery from the absence of slavery. As you write, Africans had been enslaved for centuries.


I'm unclear as to why you keep repeating the things I tell you, conceding that they are correct, but still manage to sound argumentative.


probably a lot of people here would think that European Christians would be more humane than Arabs.


There is zero evidence to suggest that such was the case, regardless of what "probably a lot of people here would think".



So once again you have failed to explain what was "worse."


Once again you have failed to comprehend simple English sentences. When a people with no prior history of slavery (the French, say, or the English) adapts slavery, that is by definition a change for the worse.


You're starting to remind me of the other individual here who is pretending that he's never seen any arguments against mass immigration.

Anonymous said...

Once again you have failed to comprehend simple English sentences. When a people with no prior history of slavery (the French, say, or the English) adapts slavery, that is by definition a change for the worse.

Worse for whom?

Anonymous said...

Worse for whom?


Worse for everybody.

Or do you actually believe that the importation of slaves into America was advantageous for Americans?

Forgot My Alias Again said...

"...that winter everyone in Britain froze to death due to clogged chimneys."

Froze to death? Carbon monoxide asphyxiation, more likely. Even in Bizarro Britain.

Svigor said...

What site do you think you are on? Read Steve's archives before wasting our time. If you are too stupid to understand why immigration as practiced today is deleterious, then you aren't even worth talking to - just go away.

No, it is your duty to write an Ode to the Snowflake. Libs love this, sauntering in and demanding everyone rewind the conversation to suit them. They want everyone else to do their homework for them.

There is zero evidence to suggest that such was the case, regardless of what "probably a lot of people here would think".

You've taken to Sailer's and I accept that. Just know your arguments aren't persuasive.

YES, you stupid ass, any fool knows he'd rather be enslaved by western European Christians than Arab Muslims. Just look at Saudi Arabia, for God's sake.

You're starting to remind me of the other individual here who is pretending that he's never seen any arguments against mass immigration.

Right, like you're not both the same guy.

Anonymous said...

Or do you actually believe that the importation of slaves into America was advantageous for Americans?

I did not realize your reasoning was American-centric. What I wasn't understanding earlier was why an African would be worse off being enslaved by a Jew or an Englishman than being enslaved by an Arab. Apparently, you weren't saying they were worse off.

Anonymous said...

What site do you think you are on? Read Steve's archives before wasting our time. If you are too stupid to understand why immigration as practiced today is deleterious, then you aren't even worth talking to - just go away.

Benjamin Netanyahu did a far better job than you have, and he only got a one soundbite crack at it.

Mr. Anon said...

"Anonymous said...

Benjamin Netanyahu did a far better job than you have, and he only got a one soundbite crack at it."

Yes, well he's much more expert at manipulating people than I am. He's had almost the whole of the US Congress wrapped around his finger.

Anonymous said...

Benjamin Netanyahu did a far better job than you have, and he only got a one soundbite crack at it."

Yes, well he's much more expert at manipulating people than I am. He's had almost the whole of the US Congress wrapped around his finger.


Work on it--persuasion, not manipulation. We need to spread the word.

Anonymous said...

I did not realize your reasoning was American-centric. What I wasn't understanding earlier was why an African would be worse off being enslaved by a Jew or an Englishman than being enslaved by an Arab. Apparently, you weren't saying they were worse off.


I had not realized that I was supposed to employ African-centric reasoning, which is what you are suggesting.

I repeat: adapting alavery was a change for the worse - for the people who adapted it. I've only said this about half-a-dozen times now.

Anonymous said...

What I wasn't understanding earlier was why an African would be worse off being enslaved by a Jew or an Englishman than being enslaved by an Arab.



You seem to be on a bit of a hobby-horse about this particular topic. Scanning back up thru the thread I see that the first person to raise the question of whether Africans slaves were "worse off" being enslaved by the English than by the Arabs was - you. And you're the only person who seems anxious to keep talking about it, even though nobody else is arguing the point which you're dead set on arguing against.

But I'll take the bait which you've been dangling in the water. As a matter of economics it is not true that the market for slaves was a fixed constant. If Europeans had not gotten into the business of buying slaves, a great many Africans who ended up as slaves in a foreign land would have lived and died in Africa and not been slaves to Arab, Jew, or Englishman.

Mr. Anon said...

"Anonymous Anonymous said...

Work on it--persuasion, not manipulation. We need to spread the word."

Right,....."persuasion". Is that what bribery is called now? AIPAC "persuades" congress.........with money. Just as a John "persuades" a hooker to have sex with him.

Anonymous said...

I repeat: adapting alavery was a change for the worse - for the people who adapted it. I've only said this about half-a-dozen times now.

If it was worse for the plantation owners, why would they have adopted it?

cinc210 said...

Good point on Ron Paul, I thought he was weak on the llegal immirgation since he has the philosophy of the OC Register and the OC has alot of illegal immirgants that have children that received the free and reduce lunch program. Ron Paul is like governor Rick Perry of TExas that wants the cheap labor but wants the illegal immirgants to have less welfare, Perry recently cut back their welfare which of course makes it harder for them than whites. About 23 percent of hispanic Texians below the poverty rate. This is why the left complains about Texas a lot of poverty but poor folks are getting less welfare Perry could have prevented this by not allowing employees to hire illegals which have caused the Poverty rate to grow during his governorship.

Anonymous said...

Ron Paul also wants to legalized sex for sale. Most girls that sell their bodies are force to sex their bodies it isn't of their free will and countries that legalized it in Europe also have a lot of the forced sex trade too. Paul is only like among Paleo cons because he is anti-war but outside of that he isn't that great.

Skadhi_the_Raverner said...

We shouldn't go back to industrial revolution child labour (abuse), but society's aversion to it is related to delaying adulthood till after two or even three decades now, and effectively replacing the traditional adolescent growth in maturity through adult experiences with an extended childhood period to achieve this.

Natrép said...

Actually, from what I’ve read, it seems that children’s suffering at work in 19th century Britain was mainly due to government (the usual suspect): “parish children”, that is, those children that were under government’s responsibility were those that had to endure horrendous life conditions, contrary to those that were free.

Here is the article (in French, but two of its three references are in English):
http://analyseeconomique.wordpress.com/2012/02/19/sur-le-travail-des-enfants-langleterre-du-19eme-siecle/
(http://www.thefreemanonline.org/columns/child-labor-and-the-british-industrial-revolution/
http://mises.org/freemarket_detail.aspx?control=337)