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Ethics of Child Labor Essay

Ethics of Child Labor I. Intro A. During the nineteenth and early twentieth century child labor was a rampant problem with the advancements in technology. Then during the mid twentieth century, the United States started implementing child labor laws such as setting an age limit for somebody to work for pay and also setting certain health and safety codes at the work place. Despite efforts to prevent child labor, it is still prevalent in some areas in the world today. Most of these children work on small farms.

II. Is Child Labor right or wrong? A. Pros: i. “Human Rights Watch says that child farm workers in the United States- the vast majority of whom are Latino- regularly work 12 to 14 hour days, often suffering pesticide poisonings, heat-related illness, machine and knife-related injuries, and life-long disabilities. Many are forced to work without access to toilet or hand-washing facilities or adequate drinking water. ” (Cray 4) i. Helps support a struggling family financially ii.

Child labor has a place in the world economy as long as it is neither hazardous or dead-end work, where the child laborers can still get an education and thereby help their families out of poverty since an education will ensure better paying jobs in the long run. iii. Work alongside their parents is both a financial necessity, and also part of the ethnic family work ethic. B. Cons: i. Illnesses, injury, lifelong disabilities. ii. The associative qualities of child labor is it produces a negative image of the associated company, country, family that enforces it.

iii. Emotional distress is put on that child for life III. Jeremy Bentham A. Ethical System including the influence of Theology 1. Moral Aspects of Awareness: i. Finitude-“capacity of transcendence which gives humans the ability to imagine their own end”(Schaffer 66). ii. Incompleteness-“Comes from a sense of transcendence- we are able to imagine states which we can never quite achieve. This is about the individual”(Schaffer 66). 2. Beliefs about Right and Wrong i.

Hedonic calculas:“According to this doctrine, the way to judge between alternative courses of action is to consider the consequences of each, in terms of the pleasure and pain of all the people affected”(Mills 281) 3. Definition of Good i. “Utilitarianism presupposes one overriding moral principle: that one ought to aim at the greatest happiness of the greatest number. “(Mills 280) ii. Bentham thought what was good was whatever gave the most amount of pleasure to the most amount of people iii. Subjective Theory of Value-“How I feel, not a matter of right or wrong, knowledge not needed.

“(Schaffer 73) 4. Obligations i. “If the central question of political philosophy is taken to be: “Why, if at all, should the citizen obey the state? The utilitarian answer is quite clear. The citizen should obey just so far as obedience ill contribute more to the general happiness than disobedience. If the central question is taken to be the nature and ontological status of the state, the answer is equally clear: the state is not a super-entity with purposes and a will of its own, but a human contrivance to enable men to realize as many of their desires as possible.

“(Mills 281) ii. Explanation: Bentham believes it is the obligations of the state to provide the people basic pleasures and if the state is doing that then the people should comply with some of the states’ demands and if that is not the case then the people don’t have listen to the state. 5. Ideals and Virtues i. “It is as the exponent of utilitarianism and as the acknowledged leader of the philosophical radicals, whose program of social reform was firmly based on utilitarian theory, that Bentham is chiefly remembered.

He thought of the principle of utility as primarily a guide for legislators. Thought it he hoped to impart some order into chaos and illogic of the law”(Mills 281) ii. “Perhaps the crucial question for a utilitarian ethic intended mainly for lawyers and legislators is whether it can account adequately for justices. It may be argued that justice requires the equalization as well as the maximization of pleasures. It is not unjust to require me to endure five units of pain on Monday for the sake of ten units of pleasure on Tuesday.

But is it just to require Smith to endure five units of pain for the sake of ten units of pleasure for Jones? It is doubtful whether Bentham can meet this objection. He does, however argue that the maximization of pleasure will itself involve an equalizing tendency. This is because the economist’s law of diminishing utility applies to pleasure. The minor amenities of life afford much pleasure to someone whose other pleasures are few, but comparatively little to someone whose pleasures are many.

Consequently, while it is true that a utilitarian, forced to choose between a course of action that gives X and Y 10 units of pleasure each and one that gives X 31 units of pleasure and Y 10 units of pain, will prefer the second, it is also true that such choices are most likely to arise when X’s life is as a general rue more painful than Y’s”(Mills 283) iii. Sincerity-free from pretense or deceit, proceeding from genuine feelings (Oxford American Dictionaries) iv. Tranquility-quality or state of being tranquil;calmness;peacefulness;quiet;serenity(Dictionary.

com) 6. Culpability/Consequence i. “In Bentham’s view, our conviction that it is unjust to punish an innocent man is based on nothing but the empirical consideration that punishing the innocent is not likely to deter others from crime. This is, however, not always true: the innocent man may be a hostage, or he may be generally thought to be guilty. ”(Mills 283-284) ii. Consenquence:“a conclusion derived through logic, something produced by a cause or necessarily following from a set of conditions. ” (Merriam Webster Dictionary) B.

How Bentham would address Child Labor i. If Bentham were assessing the issue of child Labor he would probably take into account the pleasure and pain involving the children and the employers. From the employers point of view their getting workers working for lower pay and also more capability of certain tasks rather than adults. From the children point of view, Bentham would see that it would be a advantage for a struggling family for their children to work to help put food on the table also it could help inspire a stronger work ethic for the children.

Then when calculating the pain involved, that would be attributed to possible injuries and diseases the child might get and also the trauma inflicted upon the child and family. Bentham would also recognize the outrage of other countries around the world that condemn child labor as a legal practice. Using hedonic calculus, Bentham would determine if this right or wrong and taking account of all the pleasure and pain involved he would probably come with the conclusion that Child Labor is wrong. IV. Aristotle A.

Ethical system including the influence of theology 1. Moral aspect of awareness i. Unfinished-“Seeking the Other half-we have to drive to discover otherness through poetry, literature, movies, etc; profound desire to be in relation/community Philosophical & Religious Understandings-in complete (dream) Aristotle, long for innocence Augustine”(Schaffer 66). ii. Explanation: Aristotle thought that to reach a higher level of being we must engage ourselves in the field of arts to reach the other half of our self 2. Beliefs about right or wrong i.

Aristotle believed good was something that brought you happiness or fulfills your desires. ii. Aristotle also believed if you don’t overly indulge yourself in your desires then it would be considered ethical but if you indulge in excess then it would be unethical 3. Ideals and Virtues i. Temprance:”The Greek philosopher Socrates considered temperance to be almost synonymous with self-mastery. The temperate person, he argued, is the one who exercises control over his or her desires and thereby escapes domination by them. Aristotle took a similar view, holding self-indulgence to be childish.

For these philosophers, and for many of the ethicists that followed them, the hallmarks of temperance are moderation and restraint of one’s desires and passions. ”(Ruggiero 112) ii. Prudence:” This virtue known also as practical wisdom, consists of choosing one’s behavior judiciously by consulting experience and deliberating thoughtfully about what response is most appropriate. Prudence is the exact opposite of rashness and impulsiveness. ”(Ruggiero 111-112) 4. Definition of Good i. Subjective theory of Value: “How I feel =not a matter of right or wrong; knowledge not needed”(Schaffer 73) ii.

Aristotle thought whatever was good was whatever fulfilled your desires or made you happy 5. Obligations i. Obligations of friendship:“Friendship entails mutual respect and a special interest in the other’s well being. It requires one to rejoice at the other’s success and good fortune and to share the pain of the other’s disappointment and failure. It also requires on to be trust-worthy about confidences, to provide emotional support when it is needed, and to restrain the urge to be critical in small matters. ”(Ruggiero 100) ii.

Obligations of friendship:“Citizenship obligates a person to promote the well-being of the country and fellow citizens by respecting and observing the law and respecting the legitimate initiatives of the country’s leaders, even if one disagrees with their political perspective. In a democracy, it also requires participation in the electoral process. When the country is unjustly attacked, it is also a citizen’s responsibility, conscience permitting, to support the country’s response and even, if one is young and healthy enough, to play an active role in the country’s defense.

” (Ruggiero 100) 6. Culpability/Consequence i. Consenquence:“a conclusion derived through logic, something produced by a cause or necessarily following from a set of conditions. ” (Merriam Webster Dictionary) B. How Aristotle would approach Child Labor i. Aristotle would approach Child from a subjective theory of value and determine if it was right or wrong depending on the situation. For example if the family of the child is in desperate for money then he would consider it ethical for child to work. But if the child is suffering from the work then Aristotle would then consider it unethical.

VI. My ethical system A. Ethical System Including the Influence of Theology 1. Moral Aspect of Awareness i. Incompleteness: “Comes from a sense of transcendence-we are able t imagine states which we can never quite achieve. We have a desire to have a complete awareness of our incompleteness” (Schaffer 66). ii. Unfinished-“Seeking the Other half-we have to drive to discover otherness through poetry, literature, movies, etc; profound desire to be in relation/community Philosophical & Religious Understandings-in complete (dream) Aristotle, long for innocence Augustine”(Schaffer 66). 2. 3.

Beliefs about right and wrong i. Believe you should do whatever gives you most amount of satisfaction and security. 4. Definition of Good i. Subjective Theory of Value: “Subjective theory of Value: “How I feel =not a matter of right or 5. Ideals and Virtues i. i. Justice-“Evaluation of situations according to their merits, without prejudice, and giving each person his or her due”(Ruggiero 102) ii. tranquility: quality or state of being tranquil;calmness;peacefulness;quiet;serenity iii. Temprance:”The Greek philosopher Socrates considered temperance to be almost synonymous with self-mastery.

The temperate person, he argued, is the one who exercises control over his or her desires and thereby escapes domination by them. Aristotle took a similar view, holding self-indulgence to be childish. For these philosophers, and for many of the ethicists that followed them, the hallmarks of temperance are moderation and restraint of one’s desires and passions. ”(Ruggiero 112) iv. Prudence:” This virtue known also as practical wisdom, consists of choosing one’s behavior judiciously by consulting experience and deliberating thoughtfully about what response is most appropriate.

Prudence is the exact opposite of rashness and impulsiveness. ”(Ruggiero 111-112) 6. Obligations i. Obligations of friendship:“Friendship entails mutual respect and a special interest in the other’s well being. It requires one to rejoice at the other’s success and good fortune and to share the pain of the other’s disappointment and failure. It also requires on to be trust-worthy about confidences, to provide emotional support when it is needed, and to restrain the urge to be critical in small matters. ”(Ruggiero 100) ii.

Obligations of friendship:“Citizenship obligates a person to promote the well-being of the country and fellow citizens by respecting and observing the law and respecting the legitimate initiatives of the country’s leaders, even if one disagrees with their political perspective. In a democracy, it also requires participation in the electoral process. When the country is unjustly attacked, it is also a citizen’s responsibility, conscience permitting, to support the country’s response and even, if one is young and healthy enough, to play an active role in the country’s defense. ” (Ruggiero 100) 7.

Culpability/Consequence ii. i. Consenquence:“a conclusion derived through logic, something produced by a cause or necessarily following from a set of conditions. ” (Merriam Webster Dictionary) 8. Ethical influences i. Parents: My parents have instilled a strong ethical foundation for life. Since I was little kid, they have taught the importance of kindness and honesty. ii. Coaches: I have played sports my entire life and it has been a major influence in shaping my character. Sports have helped keep me disciplined and how to stay cool under pressure, and not letting my emotions control my actions.

9. My tradition i. “Natural Law-(def) the view that there is an unchanging normative order that is a part of the natural world”(Schaffer 83) ii. “One way to provide criteria of judgment on major issues, examine natural law (in relation to divine law) and human law to show the way in which they complement each other. ” (Schaffer 83) iii. “Orders of Creation- (def): a hierarchy is given in creation which reveals obligation, responsibility and offer criteria for morality” (Schaffer 84) B. How I would address Child Labor i.

I believe child labor is an unethical practice. It puts way too emotional distress and also physical injuries to be justified. The only positive I can see coming from child labor is the money that child would bring in. Conclusion A. Child labor is not as pressing as an issue as it used to be but still practiced around some parts in the world. I believe Bentham and Aristotle would both disapprove of child labor based on their idea that the basic goal in life is too find happiness and satisfy your desires which labor does not serve.


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