[OPE] Are child laborers exploited?

From: GERALD LEVY (gerald_a_levy@msn.com)
Date: Wed Feb 20 2008 - 08:02:49 EST

For a Marxian, this is a no-brainer: *of course* child
workers are exploited. Yet, Peter Dorman - living
up to the maxim of "Econospeak" to be "economically
incorrect" - offers a different answer in a recent working
paper published by the ILO called "Child labor wages and 
productivity: results from demand-side surveys". Dorman 
discusses his paper here:
which includes a link to the paper. The abstract says that
the paper examines "wages and productivity of children 
and adults in two occupations in each of four selected 
countries in different world regions. Survey work was
carried out in Ghana, India, the Philippines and Uganda
in 2004 and 2005".
Dorman's empirical study offers a rather weak answer to
the question "are child labourers exploited?".  "The bottom 
line is", for him, "sometimes, under some conditions".
His answer, of course, depends on how you define 
exploitation. No doubt, there are variations in productivity
between children and adults and among children in 
different occupations and social formations.  No doubt, 
wage differentials among these workers also exists. 
No doubt, some children are _abused_ and _taken 
advantage of_  to a greater or lesser extent by different 
capitalists. But, aren't _all_ child  workers who are productive 
of surplus value exploited?  Indeed, aren't all wage-workers
- regardless of age - who are productive of surplus-value
In solidarity, Jerry

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