Commentary Sheet on Chapter 7 of 'Why Some Things Should Not Be for Sale`

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Economics & PhilosophySummer 2016  Frankfurt School of Finance & Management  Julian Fink

Commentary Sheet

Name: Florent Islami
Text: ‘Child Labor: A Normative Perspective’ - Why Some Things Should Not Be For Sale, pp. 155-169
Thesis: Child Labor – if unavoidable – needs to be incorporated by a formal institution
Child Labor is one of the most severe issues we have to face worldwide. Even though there was a significant decrease of child laborers in the past years, still over half of them suffer under dangerous and hazardous work (Nowakowski, 2015). We claim to strongly disapprove of and avoid child labor, but in fact, there are many cases in which western consumers greatly tolerated products which contained materials produced by child workers (e.g. Toor, 2016).
In Why Some Things Should Not Be on Sale Debra Satz offers an approach for a normative perspective on child labor. On a humanitarian basis, she emphasizes the inevitable trade-off of values that both parents and the state are facing in regard to child labor. Of course, child labor is a global issue which cannot be tackled within days nor is there a key strategy to forever remove it from the world. Simply banning it under any circumstances will not necessarily lead to total abolition of the issue. Further, ignoring the fact that child labor happens every day or regarding it as a mere symptom of poverty and cultural issues will not help eliminating it as well. My goal here is not to give an instruction on how to permanently banish child labor but to extend the strategy Satz provides by a practical idea which may be able to approach the problem of child labor more effectively. In countries where child labor is simply inevitable, it has to be made sure that the children’s interests are protected. These interests are namely the interest of welfare and agency (Satz, 2010,
p. 160). The…...

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