Analysis of The Economist: Economic focus - Sickness or Symptom?

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The Economist’s article published in 2004 which debated the merits of child labor and provided the next steps in reducing child labor is mostly correct in its assertions. Statistics have shown that more than 200 million children that are school-aged are working in third-world countries. These third world countries have the highest rates of child labor and most of these children work for no payment to very little payment for their time. Many of the critics of child labor, including those in developed nations, threaten to cut off economic ties, or impose economic penalties such as sanctions on those countries that allow child labor to take place. However, The Economist article cites a study and argues correctly that these measures are useless and only set back or create barriers to eradicating child labor.

Eric Edmonds, a Dartmouth College professor, researched 3000 Vietnamese households and compiled the results into a paper that claimed poverty forced the parents into sending their children to work. Due to a series of reforms following the Cold War, the Vietnam national GDP rose 6.5% annually, which then clearly proved his thesis. The number of children that were working after the reforms fell by nearly 30% and this was due entirely to the individual families rising income. This data means that poor households do not want to send their kids to work and toil but are forced to because of economic necessity. These children have no choice but to work in order to keep the family alive in the most basic needs, such as food, care for the elderly or non-working, and perhaps money for family members’ education. If child labor is something that is required for families to stay afloat, not something that families willingly do, the problem can only be solved by fixing the economic problems that cause the poverty. Forcing families not to send their children to work would only cause the problem to grow larger, widening the financial gap to freedom, and causing children never...
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