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Comment count is 21
EvilHomer - 2014-05-16

So what's the tobacco industry's response to this? Does this apply to ALL tobacco companies, or only a few? And are there any neutral sources who can confirm or deny the various allegations raised in this video?

memedumpster - 2014-05-16

It applies to all tobacco companies that use tobacco grown by the big three plantations on American soil.

I have no idea what they make kids farm in Europe.

Simillion - 2014-05-16

I hate to be the capitalist in the mix, but there are really just specific issues that this video raises. 1.) fair wages 2.) limitations of how much work kids should do, i.e., labor laws 3.) state vs federal laws on child labor 4.) are these kids doing well enough in school 5.) basic worker protections such as protective covering and NOT spraying poison when the kids are working.

also, if those plants were marijuana plants, these kids would be totally fine

Oscar Wildcat - 2014-05-16

..and that would be about 200 USD worth of fine finger hash on that girls hands.

memedumpster - 2014-05-16

If the plants were marijuana, touching them wouldn't be poisonous.

Rodents of Unusual Size - 2014-05-16

I made it about 3 minutes in before I became so angry I had to stop it. Very, very few things make me as angry as child labor. Please tell me there is a group of some kind lobbying to make this illegal. Please.

Oscar Wildcat - 2014-05-16

Attempts to regulate farm worker age limits have been hampered by the fact that it's a tradition for the farmer to have his whole family involved in the operation. That includes his kids. Most of them grew up doing the same, so it's part of their lives. The Obama admin got into a lot of political hot water for trying to regulate this recently. How to stop the abuse but allow ordinary farmers to legally employ their kids? I should think it not so hard, but it eluded Obama, he folded like a cheap suit on the issue.

EvilHomer - 2014-05-16

I think the most important question to ask is: what exactly constitutes "abuse"? Child labour is, rightly or wrongly, considered one of the worst possible things on earth, by many individuals here in the West. Yet this revulsion towards child labour is a very new idea, barely more than a century old, and even today it is hardly universal, being confined mainly to the hyper-industrial West, and imposed (without much success) on the colonized Third World.

I think the key thing to understand about child labour is why our anti-labour laws were thought necessary in the first place, and where our modern moral outrage over child labour first came from. It seems to have been a rather understandable reaction against the horrendous conditions of many Victorian child-employing industries, combined with Christian ideas about the innocence of children, and the (arguably disingenuous) campaigns of early supporters of compulsory education, who thought childhood should be a time of indoctrination into the values of citizenship, as defined by the nation, and for developing the more specialized skill sets which would come in handy for future factory workers (such as learning to shut up and do meaningless rote busiwork, for a specifically appointed block of time, day in, day out, all year long).

Of course, this raises the question: if child labour can be made safe and equitable, then is granting economic self-determination to a child who wishes to work, really an inconsiderable proposition?

Oscar Wildcat - 2014-05-16

For roughly the same reasons we don't let them drink, drive, vote or fuck. You foolish toad.

exy - 2014-05-16

EH got me mad before I even had a chance to click play.

memedumpster - 2014-05-16

Actually watch the video and troll harder, EvilHomer.

Wait, I got it...

EvilHomer - 2014-05-16

Well OK, Mr Wildcat, but what reasons, specifically?

For example, the state does not allow children to smoke because smoking is considered to be unhealthy and dangerous. This would be a good argument against letting children work in coal mines or as lion tamers, but again, if child labour can be made *safe*, then the paternal argument about health risks is no longer relevant. Children may not be allowed to smoke or clean chimneys, OK granted, but could they not still work, say, as bank tellers, or as photo copyists?

Oscar Wildcat - 2014-05-16

All for the same reason, Homey. Children cannot give informed consent. That's an irreducible reason.

EvilHomer - 2014-05-16

And meme, I am not defending THIS instance of child labour, per say. I did watch the video (part of it, at least) and if the allegations presented herein are true, then evidently THIS job is rather dangerous and abusive.

My question is one of broader principle. Again, if child labour can be made both safe and equitable, could we not respect the individual's right to self-determination? And furthermore, even if we give child labour fair consideration and still find it lacking, does it *really* warrant the blind moral outrage it elicits from contemporary bourgeois society?

EvilHomer - 2014-05-16

Mr Wildcat - OK. Let's assume that this should apply to a child's economic freedom. If a child cannot choose what to do with his or her own body, then who can?

Usually, the argument would be, the parents. This is, after all the basis of all family life, clear on back to our first primordial ancestors; children can not choose for themselves, so their parents must guide them. Alright, but what if the parents decide they want junior to work in the fields?

We might also say, it is the state. The state controls children, the state decides what they can and can not do until they reach an age at which their social betters deem them fit enough to make their own choices in life. But the "informed consent" doctrine does not tell us what the state should or should not allow! All it does is attempt to justify the idea of law and establish the state's moral right to impose regulations upon the young. *It does not tell us anything about what these regulations should be.*

In order to figure out what limits society should be imposing on children, we have to look deeper than simply establishing that such limits could ethically exist.

EvilHomer - 2014-05-16

Also, forgive me if this is a stupid question, but how does "informed consent" relate to prohibitions on underage driving? I can see how it relates to prohibitions on underage sex, and I guess I can sort of see how it relates to prohibitions on underage smoking (although really, with the amount of anti-drug propaganda shoveled at children, I'd think that smoking would be one of the few issues they WERE informed about). I cannot, however, see at a glance why informed consent would be relevant to driving.

Oscar Wildcat - 2014-05-16

I rather suspected the whole concept of informed consent is something of a mystery to you, Homer.

Stop blabbering at us and do that painting of The Plastics.

EvilHomer - 2014-05-16

I'm inclined to agree with you, although I'd raise the stakes and say that "informed consent" is a mystery to pretty much everyone.

Anyway, I'm finishing up a painting inspired by Bob's Burgers (which is, incidentally, a show that glorifies child labour) and then I gotta do some coloring/inking for a friend of mine (he's a legitimately awesome artist, and I have no idea why he wants a shmuck like me to help him out), but maybe next week? It would go faster if I were allowed to employ children...!

memedumpster - 2014-05-16

"All for the same reason, Homey. Children cannot give informed consent. That's an irreducible reason."

"I rather suspected the whole concept of informed consent is something of a mystery to you, Homer."

Oscar has the license to kill of subtle jabs.

EvilHomer - 2014-05-16

Oho, now who's trolling?!

But damn, I wish I could endorse this! Officially, I mean. Tobacco lobbyists get paid obscene amounts of money. Which raises another scenario: what about employing children, not as field-hands, but as shills for tobacco companies? Would that be OK?

This would not be without precedent; employing children as shills already happens in other contexts. There are plenty of children well under the age of "informed consent" who nonetheless labour away as child actors. From famous movie stars clear on down to child-victims who get interviewed in anti-tobacco documentaries, this is all labour, is it not? These children all have jobs, they all get paid, they all get exploited, yet no one ever complains about that, do they? You make sure their hours are reasonable and that they have access to schooling, and hey, kid has a job, cool! Obviously, child labour, in and of itself, is NOT the ultimate problem here.

Hooker - 2014-05-16

Bunch'a 12 year olds refusing to pull themselves up by their bootstraps.

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