Child Labor and Mises
Today in a debate on twitter with an Mises touting libertarian; she claimed that government regulation is a bad thing, that only prevents workers from building new businesses and just lines the pockets of government officials. The debate continued until she came out and said that there shouldn’t be child labor laws. Then she sent me a link to the ridiculous cave of libertarian idiocy that is Lewrockwell.com and an article from the much maligned Ludwig Von Mises Institute. This is an article that actually DEFENDS child labor as a good thing, instead of the horrible evil that it was. Hold on to your seats dear readers, it’s time to destroy some libertarian bullshit with a good dose of logic, history and good old fashioned sarcasm. Let’s begin. (Black text is from the article, RED text is my response)
“In Defense of Child Labor”
The title alone is enough to make you want to punch a rich guy.
“Just the other day, hard-eyed federal cops descended on young lawbreakers all across America. Their crime wasn’t drugs or gang warfare or even shoplifting. It was work.
Given the number of bums infesting our cities, one might assume a Republican administration would not attack work. One would be wrong.”
Let’s start here. Poor people who don’t have enough to eat are bums. This article, right off the bat maligns the poor as bums, insinuating that they must be poor and homeless because they’re lazy and worthless as human beings.
“Labor Secretary Elizabeth Dole – wife of Senator Bob (R-IRS) – is a pal of big labor, an institution which really ought to be called big anti-labor. Unions use violence and government- granted privileges to get more money for less work. As part of this effort, they seek to outlaw the competition – newer people who might work harder or for market wages.”
Yes. Unions are evil, evil entities that want to end business and are just greedy for more money and less work. Not like those poor hard working executives that make millions and millions on the backs of labor. Oh no, a union demanding basic human rights in the form of a living wage, health care, worker’s comp, and other benefits are just evil and lazy. http://jobs.aol.com/articles/2012/06/18/average-ceo-pay-jumps-to-14-million-while-workers-barely-tread/ Except for the fact that CEO pay keeps rising and worker pay keeps tanking. Union membership falling, middle class dying, executive pay through the roof, but what’s really evil are those union thugs being greedy and asking for such horrible things as enough money to live on while they make the capitalist class richer.Yeah. Right.
“At the behest of Mrs. Dole and the unions, President Bush and Congress raised the minimum wage. This abolished entry-level jobs suitable for kids ill-educated in the government schools. Now Mrs. Dole, with White House support, is usurping parental rights with a union-inspired attack on “child labor.” Like the minimum wage increase, it does great harm.”
Raised the minimum wage? Holy hell!! What a horrible thing to do!! Whatever is a poor corporation to do in such an instance? How will they ever survive? Let’s look at the facts. Take McDonalds for instance. Right now they’re at a net revenue of 1.347 BILLION dollars. The CEO of McDonald’s, a Mr.Jim Skinner has a contract to make a 5-Year Compensation of $72.79 mil . Whew! How can that poor man survive on a pittance like that? It’s only…hold on here, pulling out the calculator…only the equivalent of over 1800 jobs making 40K a year. tsk tsk tsk. Or take Walmart for example. The Walton family, while paying their female workers less than their men, and not paying a living wage to most of their employees has more money than 30% of the US population combined! That’s it!! How does a family live on only 100 billion between them? Tsk tsk tsk for shame America. And now you’re going to take food out of the mouths of those poor rich kids by raising the minimum wage? You monsters.
“After her Labor police investigated and fined a legion of businesses in Operation Child Watch, Mrs. Dole said: “I want to deliver a clear message to employers, parents, and youth. The cop is on the beat.”
Some cop. These 14 and 15-year-old kids hold part-time jobs because they need the money, but it’s illegal for them to work more than three hours a day, later than 7:00 pm, or more than 18 hours a week. Thus if a teenage busboy works three and a half hours, or until 7:15prn, he’s guilty, and his boss can be fined $100,000 and sentenced to six months in prison.”
I’m just going to say this here: It’s fucking sad that kids are having to work to help support their families. I wonder if that has anything to do with multi-million dollar bonuses to executives while worker’s are demonized for asking for a living wage?
“What’s wrong with hard work? And why should the federal government, not exactly an expert in hard work, stick its nose in? The Constitution doesn’t appoint Mrs. Dole as Big Mother.
Can a youngster work too many hours? Sure, just as he can play too many hours. But in a free and decent society, decisions about these matters are for parents, not bureaucrats. Mrs. Dole not only violates the free market, she usurps the authority of fathers and mothers.”
And as we all know from the days of Dickensian horror, parents will always make the right decision in that regard. Just ask the parents on “Toddlers & Tiaras” or whatever that shit is called. They’ve always got the interests of their children at heart. LOL No need for government here. Nope. Great appeal to emotion there at the end: “They want to tell you what you can and can’t do as a parent.” Uh, yeah, they do. Like, you can’t sexually molest your kids. Or chop off their hands for stealing. You can’t beat them senseless in a fit of anger and not go to jail. So yeah, the government can, and should sometimes usurp the authority of the parent. You stupid fucks.
“How dare she close off these kids’ opportunities? A teenager’s job is not only gainful, it’s a school for life. And it is the most important school many kids attend. The government wants to kick them out.”
Of course it’s their most important school. There’s no way in hell they’ll be able to afford a vocational school or college once the libertarians are done with em.
“This is made easier by what Ludwig von Mises identified as the “anti-capitalistic mentality” of politicians and intellectuals, and the long history of socialist propaganda on this subject.
Youth labor is the “most widely misrepresented aspect of the history of capitalism,” says Robert Hessen of the Hoover Institution.”
Yeah, as we all know government hates capitalism. Just ask Romney with Bain Capital, or Herman Cain and his pizza business. Or ask any of the many many many hordes of financial executives that work in our government. So anti-capitalist. LOL The government exists, and has existed for one sole purpose. That purpose is the subjugation of one class under another. Hint, it’s not the capitalist class that is being oppressed.
“We’re told that capitalism put young people to work in the English factories of the 1700s and 1800s that were little better than concentration camps. As usual, the left has got it exactly backwards.
In 1697, before the Industrial Revolution, John Locke urged families to put their children to work at age three. Otherwise, they would have only “bread and water, and that very scantily too.” And many would not have even that.
By 1830, the life expectancy of children had vastly increased, thanks to the most explosive growth in living standards in history. Before capitalism, “these children were destitute,” said Mises. “Their only refuge was the factory,” which “saved them from death by starvation.””
And because there were worse working conditions in the past, that justifies the labor of small children? First, capitalism existed before the industrial revolution. Why were conditions worse before the Industrial Revolution? Well, before capitalism you had feudalism. I’m certainly not a fan of feudalism either, now am I? The fact is that to get rid of child labor laws you would be going back, undoing economic evolution for the sole sake of making the capitalist class more money. Why were those children starving? The same reason that kids are starving, even in the US today. That is the hoarding of wealth by the capitalist class, and the division of labor whereby those in power take the profit for the work of their employees (or serfs if you prefer feudalism). It’s still a problem in the distribution of wealth and the division of labor.
“The work was hard, as life was hard, but it was not abusive. The real maltreatment took place in the English welfare system. The government placed orphaned and deserted children in horrendous establishments.”
Oh really now? The work was hard, but not abusive? Let’s examine that claim. First, let’s look at the definition of “abusive”.
Extremely offensive and insulting.
Engaging in or characterized by habitual violence and cruelty.
insulting – offensive – opprobrious – scurrilous
And what were working conditions like for children in the Industrial Revolution? Let’s look at historical fact, not propaganda, fact.
They worked long hours, twelve, fourteen, even 19 hours a day with a total break time of one hour. These were children as young as 6. They worked in dirty, unsanitary and dangerous conditions. They worked machines that were dangerous for even adults to handle, and many many of them died as a result. The biggest boon to the industrialist was the orphan. Not helping their families like this article very dishonestly suggests, they were instead forced into near slavery. Barely paid if at all, beaten for slight infractions and many of them not making it to adulthood in one piece. And if they did make it to adulthood, they were uneducated, already worn out, and destined for a life of menial labor and poverty. Yay capitalism!! It was slavery, pure and simple. Nothing less. Horrible, yes, abusive slavery. Cruel and heartless. While the robber barons got rich beyond measure, the poor kids of the Industrial Revolution starved, walked in rags and lost their lives to machinery they were far too young to operate. This is the libertarian’s wet dream, their ideal, their heaven. Just hope you’re the robber baron and not the orphan I suppose. Sources: http://www2.needham.k12.ma.us/nhs/cur/Baker_00/2002_p7/ak_p7/childlabor.html
“When youth factory work was restricted by an unholy combination of upper-class bleeding hearts and socialists, it was the kids who suffered. Since they had to live, and since they would do anything to avoid the social workers, the youngsters were forced to look for usually lower-paying and more dangerous work in the countryside. Many ended up, says Mises, “vagabonds, beggars, tramps, robbers, and prostitutes.”
Youth labor was not abolished by Parliament, says Hessen, any more than it could be legislatively eliminated today in Bangladesh or Ghana. Only when “the income of parents became sufficient to support them” did it cease. The “emancipators and benefactors for these children” were “manufacturers and financiers,” not politicians.”
Yes, children suffered so greatly when they went to school instead of working 14 hours for little to no pay in a dirty dangerous factory. Notice how this article doesn’t back up it’s claims with anything more than a quote from Mises. After all, our god Mises would never leave us astray. NOWHERE here does it actually list a single solitary source for these claims. Not one. Then again, this doesn’t surprise me sincce the Austrian school of economics doesn’t like statistics too much. (Gee, I wonder why) This part is nothing more than a lie. No proof that children turned to prostitution or the countryside or any of the claims this ridiculous simpleton writes here. Don’t notice the lack of sources or logic though that may completely destroy this idiotic ideology, just nod your head and keep repeating the word “liberty” to yourself.
“Twice during the Progressive Era (the regressive era that gave us the Federal Reserve, the income tax, and World War I), Congress tried to restrict youth work, but both times it was stymied by a Supreme Court that followed the Constitution.”
Remember folks, it’s constitutional if it agrees with us, and evil otherwise. Also, the constitution is not to be questioned. It’s set in stone and you are powerless against it. LIBERTY!!
“Liberals and unions proposed a constitutional amendment to ban child labor; but it too failed. Only Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal, which subverted the Supreme Court and exalted unions, could have enacted the union-inspired Walsh-Healey Act of 1936, ordering government contractors to fire young people, cut working hours, and pay above-market union wages. The so-called Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 extended these principles to the whole economy, and gave us the first minimum wage.”
Funny how we then started to come out of the Great Depression and the standard of living improved. Funny how that doesn’t get mentioned here.
“Northeastern Congressmen saw the legislation as a way to attack the lower-cost, non-union Southern states. A conservative Republican-Southern Democrat alliance tried to stop the laws, but unfortunately to no avail. Anti-market legislation is always harmful, but these laws threw people out of work during the Great Depression.”
“Anti-Market” meaning anti-robber baron. Of course it doesn’t say here why the hell the North East would want to “attack” the South. Or mention that the standard of living in the more unionized North was a great deal better than that in the South. Nah, we just dazzle the masses with bullshit like the moronic claims above.
The power of Labor unions has faded since those dark days, and few people (outside of university economics departments) believe in Marxist exploitation theories anymore, but we are still saddled with anti-work laws that stunt young people’s lives.
And now the unemployment rate is through the roof, the student debt crises threatens the very stability of the economy, the income inequality is the worst it’s been since before the Great Depression and we’re on the brink of societal breakdown. Great job libertarians!!
Instead of harassing small businesses, I have a better idea. Let’s raid the Department of Labor and toss the slothocracy out on the street. Maybe they can get some real jobs in fast-food restaurants. . . as long as they’re willing to compete with America’s young people newly enfranchised by the repeal of all child-labor laws.
That’s right government. You’re not entitled to a working wage, you should have to beg for scraps from the table like the starving kids who’ll be begging beside you. You’ll have to work your fingers to the bone while the robber baron eats the fatted lamb, but don’t worry, he’ll promise you that if you work hard enough, you’ll be where he is one day. No, really, you will. He promises. *wink*
Or you could just give up and like the old song says, leave your freedom for when you’ll have pie in the sky. You can sleep when you’re dead.
Long-haired preachers come out every night,
Try to tell you what’s wrong and what’s right;
But when asked how ’bout something to eat
They will answer with voices so sweet:
You will eat, bye and bye,
In that glorious land above the sky;
Work and pray, live on hay,
You’ll get pie in the sky when you die.
The starvation army they play,
They sing and they clap and they pray
‘Till they get all your coin on the drum
Then they’ll tell you when you’re on the bum:
Holy Rollers and jumpers come out,
They holler, they jump and they shout.
Give your money to Jesus they say,
He will cure all diseases today.
If you fight hard for children and wife —
Try to get something good in this life —
You’re a sinner and bad man, they tell,
When you die you will sure go to hell.
Workingmen of all countries, unite,
Side by side we for freedom will fight;
When the world and its wealth we have gained
To the grafters we’ll sing this refrain:
You will eat, bye and bye,
When you’ve learned how to cook and to fry.
Chop some wood, ’twill do you good,
And you’ll eat in the sweet bye and bye.
Now get back to work.