Child labor (CL) has been found to enhance substantially the poorest households' chances for short-term survival. CL could also - it has been argued - facilitate CWs' socialization and development of moral values and survival skills. This article aims to demonstrate that these short-term benefits are considerably outweighed by the corresponding long-term detrimental repercussions on CWs' health, education, and earning potential in adulthood. While the poorest households might strategically employ CL as a last resort to ensure their short-term survival, it is CL per se that maintains these families in extreme poverty through the impediment to CWs' human capital accumulation, leaving them with few options but continuing to resort to CL to survive-hence, the Catch-Z? irony of CL. It is argued from extant evidence of intergenerational transmission of poverty and CL that without state intervention, these poorest families with CWs would not be likely to escape from this kind of poverty-and-Cl intergenerational cycle, with negative implications for the nation's prospects of achieving long-term socioeconomic development. Thus, this article contends that it would be beneficial for the Brazilian government to treat the elimination of CL as a top national priority.
Lau, Ka Yee
"The Catch-22 Irony of Child Labor and The Urgency for State Intervention,"
Augsburg Honors Review: Vol. 5
, Article 7.
Available at: https://idun.augsburg.edu/honors_review/vol5/iss1/7