Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Letter to a Friend


On the way home I pondered your question about whether it was moral to set up the sneaker factory in Vietnam and employ 6 year olds--or maybe it's 12 year olds, since I'm not sure how much 6 year olds can contribute.

I think that those who choose to work in a new factory only do so because they think their lives would be improved by it. Perhaps they are choosing to live in the factory or die in the jungle. Unless I could be convinced that Nike is using force or the threat of force to acquire workers, I think that Nike would be immoral to forego setting up up the factory for the sake of political correctness.

Similarly, were those kids we discussed who lived in the coal mines choosing between living in the mines or dying on the city streets? As I said, the choice between living in 1600's Jamestown or living in 1800's Philadelphia is an easy one to make.

Maybe it is immoral for dad to tell the kid to work in the factory, rather than play in the jungle (and maybe die in the jungle). A middle-eastern friend of mine once said, on this topic, "That is why you have the damned kid. He is supposed to help the family. He helps support the family, he supports you in your old age, and his kids support him in his old age."

Maybe we would rather have a lot of government aid to bring those kids into Y2K America. It never seems to work, though. Self improvement through freedom is the path up. (Then once a country is up, they seem to decide that this path is distasteful and try to short-cut advancement through a welfare state that ends upward progress).

If government concentrates on eliminating coercion, individuals improve themselves. And as they improve themselves, they cannot help but improve others. Donald Trump does not want to make a lot of people better off, but his gaudy empire employs a lot of people. If we squash him because we disapprove of whatever it is that he produces, then what happens to those people who had jobs in Trump empire?

I probably did not say much that was new. My point in writing was just that I consider it immoral to bow to the utopian protesters at WTO meetings who demand that we refuse a hand up to the third world, since we can't offer them the Garden of Eden.


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