In her article, Child Labor: Lessons from the Industrial Revolution, Jane Humphries (2008) discusses child labor and the cycle of lack of education that it can create throughout generations. She also explores how poverty is the reason for children being pushed into work at a young age.
Within the United States, there certainly seems to be truth in Humphries’ theory. When a child is sent out to work instead of attending school, they tend to grow up to be uneducated and untrained adults (Humphries, 2008). This is usually because his family were suffering from poverty and chose to prioritise the child earning extra money for the household rather than him going to school and gaining an education for the future. Today, there are still a large number of uneducated – and sometimes even illiterate – adults. Such adults tend to be living below the line of poverty even now and this affects how they choose to bring up their own children. It seems that not only do such families need money and may therefore prioritise their child earning money over attending school, but also that uneducated parents are not capable of helping their children with their education. At a basic level, an illiterate adult will not be able to teach their child to read and, even allowing for the schooling system, children of such adults are likely to fall behind peers with educated parents.
In her article, Child Labor, Megha Bahree (2008) reports on child labor statistics in modern day India. It seems that there are similarities between what is happening in India and the surge of child labor in the US industrial revolution. India’s economy is booming and it is almost at First World status (Bahree, 2008). In both cases, economic growth has seen an increase in child labor.
In order to break the global cycle of child labor, I think there needs to be more incentive for parents to send their children to school. For example, if a school offered to feed all attending children two proper meals a day then parents may see that they will save money and have healthier children if they send them to school. Additionally, the child labor laws need to be clamped down upon. Policing the laws seems lax in many parts of the world and, without starting at the bottom, the problem is unlikely ever to be eradicated.
Bahree, M. (2008). Child Labour. Forbes. Retrieved from
Humphries, J. (2008). Child labour: Lessons from the Industrial Revolution. VOX. Retrieved