It’s that time of year again when the Girl Scouts are going door-to-door and setting up shop outside of supermarkets to sell you those colorful little boxes of reconstituted butter and sugar. It’s Girl Scout cookie season, I mean, which—according to the Girl Scouts of America—is the time of year when the young women of the Girl Scouts learn “goal setting, decision making, money management, people skills, and business ethics.”
The Girl Scout cookie program, in other words, teaches young girls how to be entrepreneurs; it teaches them how to work. It is, after a fashion, child labor. The great scandal is not that the Girl Scouts are promoting child labor, it’s that there isn’t more child labor in the United States today.
This is amazingly stupid, even for this crew.
When one says the words “child labor,” of course, one immediately thinks of the crushing 14-hour textile-style jobs, pictures of which one usually sees in middle school history textbooks. Surely young children are better off when they are not required to labor under such working conditions.
Yet the federal government—never to be outdone at overreach—has gone several steps further further and proscribed virtually every meaningful kind of occupation for children younger than 14: “any manufacturing occupation,” “most processing occupations,” “all work requiring the use of ladders, scaffolds or their substitutes,” “outside window washing,” and apparently hundreds of other types of jobs (such as “occupations in connection with…communications and public utilities”).
Remember, this is a group of people that wants safety and wellness regulations eliminated for adults, because it "infantilizes" them. SO what about the kids? Eh, free market'll take care of em.
As farmer Joel Salatin points out, labor laws prevent children from using even so simple a tool as a cordless drill in the course of employment, to say nothing of the entire occupations from which children are barred by the Department of Labor. The end result of these laws is ultimately not child protection but prohibiting children from using their innate potential to earn their own money.
All of this is somewhat moot, of course, given the fact that our outdated Prussian-style compulsory education system locks up most children for eight hours each day so they might be subject to a pedagogical model that is extraordinarily efficient at wasting a lot of time. The average homeschooler can often finish his school day at a much faster rate than the average public schooler. There is a strong case to be made for abolishing compulsory education, as well—that more American children might be freed from a system that’s not working for them in favor of something that might.
Yes, because children are really just tiny labor sources. The real solution to America's stagnant wages? Labor and education policies from 1905. Look, if you're seriously arguing that we need to get rid of education and child labor laws, you just might be a colossal asshole who shouldn't be writing for a living.
Yeesh.On the other hand, this article certainly seems like it was written by a sixteen-year-old. Maybe he has a point.