Child Labor in Washington

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Zauderer
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Re: Child Labor in Washington

Postby Zauderer » Mon Aug 15, 2011 5:33 pm UTC

gavin wrote:Until the day where machines do all or most of our work to the point where the individual does not need to work, the individuals who lose the jobs will only be put out by it. However, if you don't care about the individual then this is quite another thing from paying the worker more.


This would be no problem as long as the difference between the cost of the machine and the cost of the worker arrives at the general population. For instance, retirement age and maximum hours per week could be continuously lowered to reduce the supply of labor.

By magic? You're telling me that individuals who work on strawberry farms for minimum wage are then going to the store and buy strawberries at a greater rate than the number of people who don't buy them because of the price decrease? No, I've worked strawberry fields, you get sick of the berries fast. Workers do eat as they go.


The minimum wage affects not only strawberries, but basically every good or service under the sun.

1. Again, employers in an industry in which it is unprofitable to pay workers minimum wage are not necessarily bad employers. The market pressures are often to blame and you really can't change that.


If nobody else can pay their workers less than X, there is no need for you to pay them less than X.

2. No one is ever forced to take a job.


Of course they are. If they don't take the job, they don't get any welfare payments and can't sustain themselves anymore.

However, in this case they are actually getting paid a living wage for the job they're doing. Let's say the living wage is $8 and your job pays $5. If the government covers the other $3 it's BECAUSE the individual is working and so they are actually getting paid minimum wage anyways.


With minimum wage, the employer would be forced to pay $8, and the government would save $3.

The problem is that we haven't established what percentage of revenue is just to take home and how much is just taking advantage of poor workers and a government that will subsidize.


I don't get that; please rephrase.

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Re: Child Labor in Washington

Postby CorruptUser » Mon Aug 15, 2011 5:45 pm UTC

Zauderer wrote:With minimum wage, the employer would be forced to pay $8, and the government would save $3.


No, the employer would pay 0 by firing the worker who isn't worth $8.

If the employee was worth $10, and the greedy bastard was only paying $5, then another greedy bastard would offer $7, another would offer $8, etc. This only happens if information is cheap/available, and the greedy bastards are prevented from forming trusts to set the price of wages.

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Re: Child Labor in Washington

Postby Zauderer » Mon Aug 15, 2011 6:02 pm UTC

CorruptUser wrote:No, the employer would pay 0 by firing the worker who isn't worth $8.

If the employee was worth $10, and the greedy bastard was only paying $5, then another greedy bastard would offer $7, another would offer $8, etc. This only happens if information is cheap/available, and the greedy bastards are prevented from forming trusts to set the price of wages.


How do you define the "value" of a worker?

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Re: Child Labor in Washington

Postby gavin » Mon Aug 15, 2011 6:10 pm UTC

Zauderer wrote:This would be no problem as long as the difference between the cost of the machine and the cost of the worker arrives at the general population. For instance, retirement age and maximum hours per week could be continuously lowered to reduce the supply of labor.
This isn't an entirely coherrent response.

The minimum wage affects not only strawberries, but basically every good or service under the sun.
The minimum wage is already being applied to other services. Enforcing it in strawberries affects no other industry. That, and minimum wage also makes everything more expensive, loses jobs, and decreases the average wealth of employees who make more than minimum wage.

If nobody else can pay their workers less than X, there is no need for you to pay them less than X.
That simply isn't the case. Market factors are not uniformly distributed across the board. Agriculture typically has the most trouble with this. That's why there's so much regulation in the industry including price floors, price ceilings and other such stuff. If the price is too low, no one can produce a product affordably, if the price is too high then the consumers are being hammered for needing to eat.

Just because the local coffee shop can give their five employees minimum wage doesn't mean that a large farm that needs 100 workers can do the same. Especially not when some workers barely do their job and the profit is directly linked to their efforts.

Of course they are. If they don't take the job, they don't get any welfare payments and can't sustain themselves anymore.
That's fantastic. What you're telling me is that an individual who can work but refuses to can't get something for nothing. What is wrong with that? My tax dollars shouldn't go to an individual who can work or at least look for work and isn't doing either. My tax dollars should go to the people who are legitimately trying to find work or have work that pays too little.

With minimum wage, the employer would be forced to pay $8, and the government would save $3.
Except, and we come to this point again, some industries can't afford to pay workers minimum wage and profit. It is better for a farm to employ 100 people at $5 with the government paying $3 than it is for the farm to employ no one because their business can't exceed its costs. That's the government losing $8 because someone wants to stick it to a company when they don't understand market pressures. If you'd like a clarification about market factors then please feel free to ask. I do not know what your background is so I can't assume you've had to undergo the number of courses I had to in order to get my business degree. I sometimes make the mistake that the things I was taught are common knowledge from common sense.

The problem is that we haven't established what percentage of revenue is just to take home and how much is just taking advantage of poor workers and a government that will subsidize.


I don't get that; please rephrase.
I mean we don't know what amount of income an owner may keep as profit. There is no set figure that says, "This is greedy" or "this is a lot but it's enough to make doing this business worth it". If we don't allow farm owners to make enough money, they'll do their best to do something else or go bankrupt. That being said, if we define how much is too much, then we can go in and say that some of the profits should go to the workers. If an industry (not just a company) really does not make enough to pay their workers minimum wage and make a legitimate profit then we must be willing to accept that not all businesses fall into a blanket law of minimum wage. So this needs to be tailored per industry and even then, can you imagine the shitstorm of anger at regulation at this level of business on the part of the government?

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Re: Child Labor in Washington

Postby Heisenberg » Mon Aug 15, 2011 6:14 pm UTC

Zauderer wrote:How do you define the "value" of a worker?

How much you could sell him for, if you cut him up and doled out his individual parts. Alternatively, the market price of the energy produced from total conversion of his mass. Or, if you're a dick like me, you could say that life itself, is in fact, invaluable.

Now, the value of his labor? That's worth however much someone's willing to pay for it.

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Re: Child Labor in Washington

Postby Soralin » Mon Aug 15, 2011 6:18 pm UTC

CorruptUser wrote:If the employee was worth $10, and the greedy bastard was only paying $5, then another greedy bastard would offer $7, another would offer $8, etc. This only happens if information is cheap/available, and the greedy bastards are prevented from forming trusts to set the price of wages.

That's only the case if jobs outnumber workers. If workers outnumber jobs, then it's in your interest to lower wages. I mean, say there's a million workers in a given area, and between all the companies in that area, only 800k workers are needed. If someone else is hiring 500k workers at $5, and I need 300k workers, I could pay them $4, because 1000k - 500k > 300k. No matter how much my competitors pay, there will still be enough workers left over for me once they've taken their fill, no matter what the wages I pay are.

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Re: Child Labor in Washington

Postby greengiant » Mon Aug 15, 2011 6:23 pm UTC

gavin, why theorise about market factors and supply/demand when there's a lot of information around regarding countries who have successfully introduced a minimum wage? This is a very brief look at what happened in the UK. Despite dire warnings, basically nothing bad happened.

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Re: Child Labor in Washington

Postby CorruptUser » Mon Aug 15, 2011 6:53 pm UTC

Soralin wrote:
CorruptUser wrote:If the employee was worth $10, and the greedy bastard was only paying $5, then another greedy bastard would offer $7, another would offer $8, etc. This only happens if information is cheap/available, and the greedy bastards are prevented from forming trusts to set the price of wages.

That's only the case if jobs outnumber workers. If workers outnumber jobs, then it's in your interest to lower wages. I mean, say there's a million workers in a given area, and between all the companies in that area, only 800k workers are needed. If someone else is hiring 500k workers at $5, and I need 300k workers, I could pay them $4, because 1000k - 500k > 300k. No matter how much my competitors pay, there will still be enough workers left over for me once they've taken their fill, no matter what the wages I pay are.


Jobs aren't some magical commodity that you mine out of the ground or harvest from a field. A shrewd businessman will hire a person for $X and use their labor to create value of at least $X. If there are multiple people that can produce more than $X for the price of $X, the businessman would be wise to hire them all. If the value created is less than $X, the businessman takes a loss. Too much of a loss, for too long, and the businessman is out of business. Too much profit for too long (that is known by others), and other businessmen try to "get a slice of the pie" and the wage rises.

A person that gets a job does not make everyone else worse off.

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Re: Child Labor in Washington

Postby gavin » Mon Aug 15, 2011 7:40 pm UTC

greengiant wrote:gavin, why theorise about market factors and supply/demand when there's a lot of information around regarding countries who have successfully introduced a minimum wage? This is a very brief look at what happened in the UK. Despite dire warnings, basically nothing bad happened.
The UK is a different beast altogether. I mean, hell, most of their businesses are government owned (hence the word "socialist" in the description field for their economy type). Not only that, but just because minimum wage doesn't damn the economy doesn't mean it doesn't hurt it or destroy certain businesses. The UK simply isn't the same as the US.

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Re: Child Labor in Washington

Postby greengiant » Mon Aug 15, 2011 8:13 pm UTC

gavin wrote:The UK is a different beast altogether. I mean, hell, most of their businesses are government owned (hence the word "socialist" in the description field for their economy type). Not only that, but just because minimum wage doesn't damn the economy doesn't mean it doesn't hurt it or destroy certain businesses. The UK simply isn't the same as the US.


Most of our businesses are government owned? I think you may have been propaganda-ed if you believe that. We have a largish, socialist government sure, but we're not as different from the US as you suggest. According to wikipedia, "The United States public sector spending amounts to about a third of the GDP." whereas "In the 20 year period from 1986/87 to 2006/07 government spending in the UK averaged around 40 per cent of GDP." A large difference certainly but hardly a gaping chasm.

I accept that the UK and US economies are different and may react differently to regulation but I suspect that, with regards to minimum wage, the main difference between our countries is ideological rather than economic.

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Re: Child Labor in Washington

Postby Zamfir » Mon Aug 15, 2011 8:16 pm UTC

Don't tell Maggie Thatcher, it would ruin her last years.

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Re: Child Labor in Washington

Postby greengiant » Mon Aug 15, 2011 8:28 pm UTC

I don't know what you mean, she's still looking very youthful.

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Soralin
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Re: Child Labor in Washington

Postby Soralin » Mon Aug 15, 2011 11:09 pm UTC

CorruptUser wrote:
Soralin wrote:That's only the case if jobs outnumber workers. If workers outnumber jobs, then it's in your interest to lower wages. I mean, say there's a million workers in a given area, and between all the companies in that area, only 800k workers are needed. If someone else is hiring 500k workers at $5, and I need 300k workers, I could pay them $4, because 1000k - 500k > 300k. No matter how much my competitors pay, there will still be enough workers left over for me once they've taken their fill, no matter what the wages I pay are.


Jobs aren't some magical commodity that you mine out of the ground or harvest from a field. A shrewd businessman will hire a person for $X and use their labor to create value of at least $X. If there are multiple people that can produce more than $X for the price of $X, the businessman would be wise to hire them all. If the value created is less than $X, the businessman takes a loss. Too much of a loss, for too long, and the businessman is out of business. Too much profit for too long (that is known by others), and other businessmen try to "get a slice of the pie" and the wage rises.

A person that gets a job does not make everyone else worse off.

Considering that the discussion that brought this up was farm labor, yes they do grow out of the ground. :) If you're hiring people to harvest your crops, as soon as you've hired enough to do so, there's no point in hiring any more, at any price. Looking at it in the same terms as you have there, out of 1000k people, the first 300k hired by one group (any 300k out of the total) produce a value of $X, any additional people hired produce a value of $0, because 300k is all the labor that they have use for. You're making the assumption that if you have 2 individuals, each of which can produce $X of value alone, that if you hire both, you can get value worth $2X, which is an invalid assumption to make without additional information. Paying more will get you the first pick of workers, but as soon as you become limited by anything other than labor (i.e. the number of jobs to be filled have been filled), then there's no point in hiring any more. And if the total number of people that can be hired is more than the amount of labor required, then you can easily bid the lowest, and still get all the labor you require, because there will be surplus labor left over that can't be put to use, due to other limitations, like a lack of farmland to harvest, or a lack of required machinery to be used. Labor is not something that can magically make value all on it's own, in a vacuum.

On top of that, it may not be worthwhile to expand your operation to be able to use additional laborers. Because, say that you increased the size of your operation, such that there are more laborers required total, then there are willing to apply for jobs. Either your operation will be understaffed, if you pay the same amount. Or, in order to get more workers to fill your requirements, you'll have to outbid your competitors, which means you aren't just paying more for the extra labor, now you're paying much more for all of your labor, especially the case if you're a large portion of the labor market already. And, in addition, producing more is only profitable if you have someone to sell the extra goods to, and in the US at least, we already produce huge surpluses of agricultural products.

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Re: Child Labor in Washington

Postby CorruptUser » Mon Aug 15, 2011 11:39 pm UTC

You are worried you will have too much product to consume? Really? When we currently have a shortage of medical care*? When we have a shortage of nursing homes? When we (the US and the EU) has spent the past few decades borrowing $trillions in order to consume the rest of the world's product because we have not produced enough of our own product?

Arguing about "who gets the jobs?" is looking at the issue of Post-Scarcity the wrong way. A better way to look at it is, in post scarcity, "who gets the consumption?", while simultaneously asking "how do we maximize production?"**. Paying people not to work, as the welfare system arguable does, is counterproductive. Fiscal policy to affect consumption is not, so long as it does not diminish production, short-term or long.

Automate the factories, make things more efficient, and yes, don't be afraid of 'eliminating' jobs. If done right right, people will drive BMW's instead of Corolla's, people will eat steak instead of Big Macs, people will live in condos instead of slums. People will throw more lavish weddings, will have bigger Quinceañeras or Bar Mitzvahs or whatever, go on more lavish vacations, etc.

*We have always had a shortage of medical care.

**At least until we actually do have post-scarcity, unlike today where we just have "Less-Scarcity".
Last edited by CorruptUser on Mon Aug 15, 2011 11:46 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Child Labor in Washington

Postby Jahoclave » Mon Aug 15, 2011 11:46 pm UTC

CorruptUser wrote:You are worried you will have too much product to consume? Really? When we currently have a shortage of medical care*? When we have a shortage of nursing homes? When we (the US and the EU) has spent the past few decades borrowing $trillions in order to consume the rest of the world's product because we have not produced enough of our own product?

Complaining about "who gets the jobs?" is looking at the issue of Post-Scarcity the wrong way. A better way to look at it is, in post scarcity, "who gets the consumption?", while simultaneously asking "how do we maximize production?". Paying people not to work, as the welfare system arguable does, is counterproductive. Fiscal policy to affect consumption is not, so long as it does not diminish production, short-term or long.

Automate the factories, make things more efficient, and yes, don't be afraid of 'eliminating' jobs. If done right right, people will drive BMW's instead of Corolla's, people will eat steak instead of Big Macs, people will live in condos instead of slums. People will throw more lavish weddings, will have bigger Quinceañeras or Bar Mitzvahs or whatever, go on more lavish vacations, etc.

*We have always had a shortage of medical care.


I, just, should I cry at how bad this is, or laugh... Or, just go into a stupor because I also learned today that my State House Majority Whip is a McDonald's manager with no college education.

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Re: Child Labor in Washington

Postby CorruptUser » Mon Aug 15, 2011 11:50 pm UTC

Jahoclave wrote:
CorruptUser wrote:Blah


I, just, should I cry at how bad this is, or laugh... Or, just go into a stupor because I also learned today that my State House Majority Whip is a McDonald's manager with no college education.


Cry at how bad this is, where "this" is defined as your understanding of economic theory.

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Re: Child Labor in Washington

Postby Jahoclave » Mon Aug 15, 2011 11:59 pm UTC

CorruptUser wrote:
Jahoclave wrote:
CorruptUser wrote:Blah


I, just, should I cry at how bad this is, or laugh... Or, just go into a stupor because I also learned today that my State House Majority Whip is a McDonald's manager with no college education.


Cry at how bad this is, where "this" is defined as your understanding of economic theory.


Instead, let's admit that your "understanding" is rather flawed to begin with (especially your take on what welfare is), and that you don't understand "sign-exchange" value of commodities for jack.

Just look at the conversation you've been having and then try to convince somebody you know what you're talking about.

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Re: Child Labor in Washington

Postby Vaniver » Tue Aug 16, 2011 2:29 am UTC

Zauderer wrote:I don't think so and I thought this line of thinking was dead along with stuff like "women shouldn't work outside the house" and "the king is king because God made him king".
Ok. Where I come from, it's impolite to disagree with just "I don't think that, and your opinion was popular a long time ago." Real discussion requires reasons. As for your implications, I am both a proponent of the ability of all individuals to employ any other individuals they want, and a anti-monarchist.

Indeed, I find it amusing that your rebuttal to my "children should be allowed to work outside the home" is "that sounds like the opinion of someone who thinks woman shouldn't be allowed to work outside the home!"
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Re: Child Labor in Washington

Postby Soralin » Tue Aug 16, 2011 2:43 am UTC

CorruptUser wrote:You are worried you will have too much product to consume? Really? When we currently have a shortage of medical care*? When we have a shortage of nursing homes? When we (the US and the EU) has spent the past few decades borrowing $trillions in order to consume the rest of the world's product because we have not produced enough of our own product?

Oh, I didn't say that it was a good thing, simply that it may be the most profitable course of action. Good and profitable are not synonyms, and the cases where they conflict often pose a problem, especially when people side with profitable.
CorruptUser wrote:Arguing about "who gets the jobs?" is looking at the issue of Post-Scarcity the wrong way. A better way to look at it is, in post scarcity, "who gets the consumption?", while simultaneously asking "how do we maximize production?"**. Paying people not to work, as the welfare system arguable does, is counterproductive. Fiscal policy to affect consumption is not, so long as it does not diminish production, short-term or long.

Automate the factories, make things more efficient, and yes, don't be afraid of 'eliminating' jobs. If done right right, people will drive BMW's instead of Corolla's, people will eat steak instead of Big Macs, people will live in condos instead of slums. People will throw more lavish weddings, will have bigger Quinceañeras or Bar Mitzvahs or whatever, go on more lavish vacations, etc.

Indeed, I'm certainly in favor of more automation, making things more efficient, being able to get things done without people having to work for it is the end goal after all. But it does indeed come down to that question "Who gets the consumption?". Since you bring it up, If we are to transition to a post-scarcity society, where no job is necessary, or nearly no job. Then it stands to reason that somewhere between here and there, in automating work, there will be a point where there's only enough jobs to occupy, say 50% of the population that would normally be working now. So, how do you deal with the issue of that transition? If half of the population can't get jobs, because they aren't needed, then having that distribution based solely on who is working, becomes a bit of a problem.

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Re: Child Labor in Washington

Postby CorruptUser » Tue Aug 16, 2011 3:09 am UTC

Yes, and that is a concern with the transition to post-scarcity. IMHO, there should be some minimum standard of living that is funded by a 'fairly' applied tax on the source of production (and the standard not set so arbitrarily high as to require $trillions of constant borrowing), and the rest should remain with those who produce the wealth. The engineers who design the machines, or the engineers who design the machines that design the machines. The artists that create the works of value. The scientists who discover the new technology that increases wealth. The store clerks that provide human interaction when buying. The nurses who care for the elderly/infirm and provide the interaction that a machine can not. The technicians who inspect the machines (that inspect the machines) to make sure everything is working. The Tech Support people that help when the automated call centers don't help (which in my experience is almost always). Even in post-scarcity or near-post-scarcity, there is still plenty of work to do.

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Re: Child Labor in Washington

Postby Aetius » Tue Aug 16, 2011 3:56 am UTC

Vaniver wrote:Indeed, I find it amusing that your rebuttal to my "children should be allowed to work outside the home" is "that sounds like the opinion of someone who thinks woman shouldn't be allowed to work outside the home!"


Well if we only allow women to hold jobs where their dainty hands are useful, and children have even daintier hands... makes perfect sense to me. Children take the jobs and women head back to the kitchen, where their mid-range-dainty hands are best optimized.

...dainty.

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Re: Child Labor in Washington

Postby elasto » Tue Aug 16, 2011 7:03 am UTC

More kids need to know their right to be free from burdensome labour!

A boy of 11 called a German police emergency line to complain of "forced labour" after his mother told him to help clean the home.

Police say the boy from Aachen, who has not been identified, spoke to an officer via the 110 number. They say he complained: "I have to work all day long. I haven't any free time."

His mother told the officer the boy had kept threatening to call them, having repeatedly complained of having to do housework during the school holidays.

A transcript of the conversation, printed in local newspapers, revealed the officer asking the boy to describe the kind of "forced labour" he was doing. The boy replied that he had to clean the home and terrace, it said.

Asked if he knew what forced labour was, the boy said he did, and the police officer asked to speak to his mother, who at that stage was standing next to him. She explained he had called after being asked to pick up paper from the floor, adding: "He plays all day long and when told to tidy up what he's done, he calls it forced labour."

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Re: Child Labor in Washington

Postby gavin » Tue Aug 16, 2011 2:39 pm UTC

greengiant wrote:
gavin wrote:The UK is a different beast altogether. I mean, hell, most of their businesses are government owned (hence the word "socialist" in the description field for their economy type). Not only that, but just because minimum wage doesn't damn the economy doesn't mean it doesn't hurt it or destroy certain businesses. The UK simply isn't the same as the US.


Most of our businesses are government owned? I think you may have been propaganda-ed if you believe that. We have a largish, socialist government sure, but we're not as different from the US as you suggest. According to wikipedia, "The United States public sector spending amounts to about a third of the GDP." whereas "In the 20 year period from 1986/87 to 2006/07 government spending in the UK averaged around 40 per cent of GDP." A large difference certainly but hardly a gaping chasm.

I accept that the UK and US economies are different and may react differently to regulation but I suspect that, with regards to minimum wage, the main difference between our countries is ideological rather than economic.
You're talking about significant differences of GDP. You guys are around 1/7th of our GDP with nothing near as diverse an economy. You certainly don't have a strong agricultural base, for example. They simply aren't comparable.

You are correct that mispoke when saying that the UK largely owns their businesses, but the businesses are simply incomparable due to the nature of industries.

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Re: Child Labor in Washington

Postby Malice » Tue Aug 16, 2011 4:07 pm UTC

Vaniver wrote:
Zauderer wrote:I don't think so and I thought this line of thinking was dead along with stuff like "women shouldn't work outside the house" and "the king is king because God made him king".
Ok. Where I come from, it's impolite to disagree with just "I don't think that, and your opinion was popular a long time ago." Real discussion requires reasons. As for your implications, I am both a proponent of the ability of all individuals to employ any other individuals they want, and a anti-monarchist.


I think it's telling that your defense of child labor is "all individuals should have the right to employ anyone they want" and not "all individuals should have the right to be employed".

Anyway, child labor laws are one of those areas where the issue is not that abuse is automatic ("no child should work at all ever!") but that the rule needs to be in place to prevent the likelihood of widespread abuse. A kid having a paper route, or even helping their parents pick berries, that's not really a problem*. Children everywhere being expected to work as a matter of course? That is an issue. We have the rule to prevent that, we have the numerous exceptions because we only need (metaphor alert:) herd immunity from the notion.

*Not the child labor, anyway. But I agree with the argument that a job where you need your child to help you make a living wage is not a job that pays a living wage, and thus not a job which should exist in its current state.
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Re: Child Labor in Washington

Postby Vaniver » Tue Aug 16, 2011 4:52 pm UTC

Malice wrote:I think it's telling that your defense of child labor is "all individuals should have the right to employ anyone they want" and not "all individuals should have the right to be employed".
Right. The first one gets out of the way of people, the second one requires someone to provide jobs. It would be awkward to word the negative right from the employee's point of view- the right to be employable?

Malice wrote:Anyway, child labor laws are one of those areas where the issue is not that abuse is automatic ("no child should work at all ever!") but that the rule needs to be in place to prevent the likelihood of widespread abuse.
How widespread would abuse have to be to justify a ban on all paid work by children? How much does such a ban cost? It seems like current child abuse laws would be more than enough to cover workplace abuse of children, in part because it seems like workplace abuse of children is much, much easier to detect than domestic abuse of children.
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Re: Child Labor in Washington

Postby TheGrammarBolshevik » Tue Aug 16, 2011 5:03 pm UTC

Vaniver wrote:It would be awkward to word the negative right from the employee's point of view- the right to be employable?

The right to seek employment.
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Re: Child Labor in Washington

Postby Dauric » Tue Aug 16, 2011 5:12 pm UTC

TheGrammarBolshevik wrote:
Vaniver wrote:It would be awkward to word the negative right from the employee's point of view- the right to be employable?

The right to seek employment.


The ability to seek employment and "Being Employable" are two different things. The former is the right to send resumes, knock on doors, etc. The latter would be a right to have "Marketable Skills". "Universal Education" does the latter to a certain degree, though it's arguable that "High-School Diploma" is increasingly less and less of a sign of "marketable skills".

Edit:

The above is intended as a relatively narrow point, but on rereading my post I can imagine that it could have broader implications, especially as child labor laws were originally in response to increasing prevalence of Universal Education. The grand upshot of most labor restrictions on children was not to bar them from working and contributing income to the family, but rather that their education would not be hampered by demands of an employer that they work so many hours that education was impossible.
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Re: Child Labor in Washington

Postby TheGrammarBolshevik » Tue Aug 16, 2011 5:35 pm UTC

Dauric wrote:The ability to seek employment and "Being Employable" are two different things.

I'm not saying otherwise.
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Re: Child Labor in Washington

Postby Vaniver » Tue Aug 16, 2011 6:11 pm UTC

TheGrammarBolshevik wrote:The right to seek employment.
It's not clear that actually extends to the act of employment, though. Consider prostitution: it might be legal to stand on a street corner looking for work, but as soon as you try to actually do a job that could be a crime without infringing on the right to seek employment.
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Re: Child Labor in Washington

Postby quantumcat42 » Tue Aug 16, 2011 6:12 pm UTC

TheGrammarBolshevik wrote:
Vaniver wrote:It would be awkward to word the negative right from the employee's point of view- the right to be employable?

The right to seek employment.

Is it currently illegal for children to apply for a job, or just illegal for someone to hire them?

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Re: Child Labor in Washington

Postby TheGrammarBolshevik » Tue Aug 16, 2011 6:31 pm UTC

Vaniver wrote:
TheGrammarBolshevik wrote:The right to seek employment.
It's not clear that actually extends to the act of employment, though. Consider prostitution: it might be legal to stand on a street corner looking for work, but as soon as you try to actually do a job that could be a crime without infringing on the right to seek employment.

Well, I had assumed that the common interpretation of "right to seek X" also entails a negative right to X, as such a right isn't very useful otherwise. But, if it doesn't, I don't see why "right to employment" couldn't capture a negative right; a "right-to-work law," for example, doesn't give a job to anyone who wants one, but merely prevents someone from not being given a job for a specific reason. So long as we're assuming that "the right to employ anyone you want" doesn't entail a positive right (i.e., an obligation for people to seek employment from you), we can just as easily assume that "the right to be employed" does no more.
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Re: Child Labor in Washington

Postby Tyranny of Javascript » Sat Aug 20, 2011 4:45 am UTC

I think the minimum wage is a good idea, although I don't believe any explanation I could come up with for how it would affect The Economy as a whole would be more convincing or informed than the next person's. However, I think the costs of the minimum wage are greatly over estimated. Even if creating new jobs was the only side effect of abolishing the minimum wage, how much would our economy benefit from creating thousands or dozens of new jobs that were even less (cost) justified than working with fast food? (This is not a rhetorical question.)

I understand why people would want to work for less than minimum wage as opposed to taking no job. (People incorrectly state that someone won't agree to a job contract (or other exchange) if they think they are being exploited. People take the best choice available to them, even if the best choice isn't actually enough to support themselves from day to day and they have to take money out of their savings or steal the rest.) It's wishful thinking on the part of everyone that businesses would employ significantly more people at wages similar to today's if the minimum wage did not exist and it's wishful thinking on the part of the individual that he could somehow get around a limitation every other worker faces and undercut them by a few cents to get their jobs. Abolishing the minimum wage is attractive because it seems like such a simple solution. There are ever well qualified people competing for these low wage jobs now. Wouldn't it make more sense to promote the creation of better jobs than to give everyone a low wage job regardless of what their skills were? You may take a small chunk out of the unemployment statistic, but you would have an underemployment problem to argue over and you would still need welfare programs.

As for the benefits of having kids work to obtain a "work ethic" or similarly undefined term that kids these days (and all adults except for myself and a few of my peers) seem to lack... :| How do kids benefit from learning a shut-up-and-work attitude or learning that they have to do X because they are inferior to the person that does Y? Kids know when they are being forced to do something because someone else is bigger than them, but they won't understand the importance of planning for their own future or their education without guidance. They would learn much more useful lessons in school or even through play. It shouldn't matter if it's after school hours. You would not take time off from your job to take a second job that pays much lower wages. Why would you want your kid to use their free time for a different type of structured lesson involving working long hours on a menial task that will be done by machine by the time they are old enough to vote while putting them in potential physical danger for a job where they receive less compensation than people doing similar work? Wouldn't they be better doing something that actually put them ahead in life?

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Re: Child Labor in Washington

Postby Vaniver » Sun Aug 21, 2011 6:56 pm UTC

Tyranny of Javascript wrote:I think the minimum wage is a good idea, although I don't believe any explanation I could come up with for how it would affect The Economy as a whole would be more convincing or informed than the next person's.
Well, at least you know your opinion shouldn't count.

Tyranny of Javascript wrote:However, I think the costs of the minimum wage are greatly over estimated. Even if creating new jobs was the only side effect of abolishing the minimum wage, how much would our economy benefit from creating thousands or dozens of new jobs that were even less (cost) justified than working with fast food? (This is not a rhetorical question.)
So, what are the human costs of being unemployed?

If you look at the happiness literature, people aren't very good at translating additional income into additional happiness. (They do get a bit of satisfaction out of it.) A minimum wage decreases the number of employed people, but slightly raises the wage for the lowest rung of employees. This can cause the total amount of money flowing to the poor to increase. It typically reduces the overall happiness of the poor, however, because the suffering accompanying being unemployed outweighs the happiness accompanying a slightly higher wage. (It also increases inequality among the poor, but it's not clear how much that matters.)

Tyranny of Javascript wrote:As for the benefits of having kids work to obtain a "work ethic" or similarly undefined term that kids these days (and all adults except for myself and a few of my peers) seem to lack... :| How do kids benefit from learning a shut-up-and-work attitude or learning that they have to do X because they are inferior to the person that does Y? Kids know when they are being forced to do something because someone else is bigger than them
You're right, let's lock them in schools and arrest them for not going so they can do busywork under the supervision of a union employee. Schools welcome children who question the system, rather than children who shut up and work.

Tyranny of Javascript wrote:They would learn much more useful lessons in school or even through play.
Are you really arguing that StarCraft does more to increase someone's earning potential than a paper route?
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Re: Child Labor in Washington

Postby Tyranny of Javascript » Mon Aug 22, 2011 2:14 am UTC

Lol. Hello, next person.
If you look at the happiness literature, people aren't very good at translating additional income into additional happiness. (They do get a bit of satisfaction out of it.) A minimum wage decreases the number of employed people, but slightly raises the wage for the lowest rung of employees. This can cause the total amount of money flowing to the poor to increase. It typically reduces the overall happiness of the poor, however, because the suffering accompanying being unemployed outweighs the happiness accompanying a slightly higher wage. (It also increases inequality among the poor, but it's not clear how much that matters.)

On the other hand, money buys the same amount of food no matter where the money came from. There's more than one way for society to get people what they need. If what you say is true, then it makes more sense to take more money from the top for redistribution than from the bottom. Microeconomics already describes how that part works. The rest of the debate is all about The Economy.

You also make the assumption that demand for unskilled labor is elastic with respect to wages and that an employer could support a strawberry field with more people than strawberries... We also don't simply abandon the unemployed in the middle of the dessert and say "Sorry. The minimum wage means we can't have 16 people working at the cash register at Wendy's, so you're going to have to make it on your own." There's welfare and education so the engineer doesn't need to quit searching for a job and work on the farm and so the secretary can be trained to use a newer model typewriter with a monitor.

Are you really arguing that StarCraft does more to increase someone's earning potential than a paper route?

I've never played StarCraft, but depending on what kind of game it is that could be a good example, especially if it's a multi-player game. Adults with cars do all of the paper delivery now for people that still have their newspapers delivered. Ten years from now newspapers might seem like an anachronism, but some skill they learned in a video game might be useful in combination with skills they learned elsewhere.

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Re: Child Labor in Washington

Postby Malice » Mon Aug 22, 2011 3:20 am UTC

Vaniver wrote:If you look at the happiness literature, people aren't very good at translating additional income into additional happiness. (They do get a bit of satisfaction out of it.) A minimum wage decreases the number of employed people, but slightly raises the wage for the lowest rung of employees. This can cause the total amount of money flowing to the poor to increase. It typically reduces the overall happiness of the poor, however, because the suffering accompanying being unemployed outweighs the happiness accompanying a slightly higher wage. (It also increases inequality among the poor, but it's not clear how much that matters.)


Do you have a citation for that? My understanding was that money does make people happier, up to a certain point, that point being well above minimum wage. And if minimum wage is the difference between working one job and working two, that's a huge difference in life satisfaction.

Speaking of which, it seems to me that an unknown number of jobs you gain by abolishing the minimum wage are going to be held by the same people already employed who now need two salaries in order to make ends meet. Does that factor into your analysis?

As far as education goes, the problem with a completely privatized system is that it's non-standardized--you might get better results, but you will almost certainly get schools with worse results. How are potential employers supposed to judge? Does an employer in Des Moines need to be able to know that the Graven Academy in Maine has a good reputation, or that it gives all its students 3.5s out of "fairness"? How could he possibly comprehend the extent of any applicant's education in these circumstances?

If, on the other hand, you have a strict minimum standard enforced by the government, doesn't that go right back to the situation we have now that you dislike?
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Re: Child Labor in Washington

Postby kiklion » Mon Aug 22, 2011 1:37 pm UTC

Vaniver wrote:
Tyranny of Javascript wrote:They would learn much more useful lessons in school or even through play.
Are you really arguing that StarCraft does more to increase someone's earning potential than a paper route?


In certain locations, yes. There is money to be made from playing video games, while I agree with your point I believe you picked bad examples. Compare making mininum wage running a bike route to coaching people to play video games at $20 an hour (or more) plus sporadic tourneys and advertisement income from streaming games and there is good money to be made in video games, specifically starcraft. Even as a route for a future, more stable job I believe showing some old fart that you were able to generate decent income off of playing games might make you stand out more than another person who had a normal job as a young adult (15-21?) Though the article was talking about younger than that in which case I don't believe most kids have the mentality needed to generate money off of video games.

~edit If you had chosen other games such as Civilization or Dues Ex or really anything without a competitive scene I would agree entirely.

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Re: Child Labor in Washington

Postby Vaniver » Mon Aug 22, 2011 2:44 pm UTC

Malice wrote:Do you have a citation for that? My understanding was that money does make people happier, up to a certain point, that point being well above minimum wage.
You might want to check out Diener & Seligman 2004 and Johnson & Krueger 2006, but those don't get directly at the question. There was a study in the news that I haven't hunted down that suggests 75k is the threshold, but I haven't looked at the paper to see if they checked out the correlation with log income. The claim is not that money doesn't make people happier, but that variables like job and relationship satisfaction are much more potent at making people happier- and locking people out of employment is not good for their job or relationship satisfaction.

Malice wrote:Speaking of which, it seems to me that an unknown number of jobs you gain by abolishing the minimum wage are going to be held by the same people already employed who now need two salaries in order to make ends meet. Does that factor into your analysis?
Ideally, they would be able to work more at one job- which requires getting rid of mandatory overtime pay / full time benefits. (That might not be better from a happiness point of view, since both of those result in more people working, but if everyone in an income strata needs to be working 70 hours anyway, they'd probably prefer 1 70 hour jobs to 2 35 hour jobs.)

Malice wrote:How are potential employers supposed to judge?
Standardized tests? Work history? Apprenticeships? Unfortunately, it's difficult to have a standardized diligence test, which is one of the things grades are good for.

Malice wrote:If, on the other hand, you have a strict minimum standard enforced by the government, doesn't that go right back to the situation we have now that you dislike?
There are strong efficiency arguments for having some sort of minimum target, and if it's something that takes a year or two of education to learn rather than 13, that's still better by a decade than the current situation.

kiklion wrote:In certain locations, yes. There is money to be made from playing video games, while I agree with your point I believe you picked bad examples. Compare making mininum wage running a bike route to coaching people to play video games at $20 an hour (or more) plus sporadic tourneys and advertisement income from streaming games and there is good money to be made in video games, specifically starcraft.
Planning to live off your Starcraft skills is similar to planning to live off your basketball skills: it works out for the very talented, determined, and lucky, but is not a good way for most people to spend their hope.
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Re: Child Labor in Washington

Postby Zamfir » Mon Aug 22, 2011 2:57 pm UTC

Vaniver wrote:There are strong efficiency arguments for having some sort of minimum target, and if it's something that takes a year or two of education to learn rather than 13, that's still better by a decade than the current situation.

How do you envision this? People spend some years getting private teaching or self-teaching, and then spend some years at a relatively high-level school that tests them against a set of formal requirements? Or those 2 years are the accumulated time spend on such testing spread out over more years? Or just that the minimum would be achievable in 2 years of education?

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Re: Child Labor in Washington

Postby kiklion » Mon Aug 22, 2011 4:43 pm UTC

Vaniver wrote:
kiklion wrote:In certain locations, yes. There is money to be made from playing video games, while I agree with your point I believe you picked bad examples. Compare making mininum wage running a bike route to coaching people to play video games at $20 an hour (or more) plus sporadic tourneys and advertisement income from streaming games and there is good money to be made in video games, specifically starcraft.
Planning to live off your Starcraft skills is similar to planning to live off your basketball skills: it works out for the very talented, determined, and lucky, but is not a good way for most people to spend their hope.


I don't believe either of us meant it as a guaranteed full time career. My comparison of location was to attempt to remind people that to some, letting your kid play a video game is akin to signing him up for little league. As a job to pay your way through college/nights out with friends in H.S earning money from advertisements from streaming sites, tournaments and coaching is preferred to running a bike route before school. A few of my relatives earn about $500 a week from such activities, of my younger relatives the only one who earns more works as a busboy/barback but that is only more per hour as he only works Fri/Sat nights as they are the busiest.

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Re: Child Labor in Washington

Postby Vaniver » Mon Aug 22, 2011 6:21 pm UTC

Zamfir wrote:How do you envision this? People spend some years getting private teaching or self-teaching, and then spend some years at a relatively high-level school that tests them against a set of formal requirements? Or those 2 years are the accumulated time spend on such testing spread out over more years? Or just that the minimum would be achievable in 2 years of education?
The first attempt I would make at such a system is coming up with the canon curriculum (or whatever it's called), having testing centers which tested people on the canon, and using prizes to reward good performance on the test. People would do a variety of self-teaching and private teaching, and if the prizes are set high enough I imagine you would have teachers who target the poor like lawyers do- offering teaching at no up-front cost, but then they take the majority of the prize if you manage to pass. Whether the testing centers are run by the govt. or just accredited by the govt. doesn't seem to matter too much- the second is probably preferable. It is important to separate teaching and testing, though, at least for the standardized tests.

The canon would be split into however many competencies that are tested separately, and so you could take the literacy test at 5 and come back and take the civics test at 12 and the driving test at 16, or whatever.
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