What's Wrong With Child Labor?

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review

Abstract / Description of output

There is broad agreement that child labor is wrong and should be eliminated. This chapter examines the three main moral objections to child labor and considers their limitations: harm-based objections, objections from failing to benefit children, and objections from exploitation. Harm-based objections struggle with baselines for comparison and difficulties with Non-Identity problems. Even if child labor is not harmful, it may be wrong because it prevents children from enjoying other benefits, such as schooling. However, is schooling necessarily more beneficial for children than work? Some kinds of child labor may not be harmful, and may benefit children, but they may still be wrong because exploitative. I consider some ways to address exploitative child labor, inspired by campaigns led by child-workers. The chapter ends with a surprising conclusion that challenges the broad consensus with which we began: we may have duties to promote child labor.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Routledge Handbook of the Philosophy of Childhood and Children
EditorsAnca Gheaus, Gideon Calder, Jurgen de Wispelaere
Place of PublicationAbingdon; New York
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)9781351055987
ISBN (Print)9781138915978
Publication statusPublished - 23 Jul 2018

Publication series

NameRoutledge Handbooks in Philosophy

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • children
  • child-labour
  • justice
  • harm
  • exploitation


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