India's Unethical Shortcut to Financial Success
by Audrey R. on August 29, 2017 - 1:41pm
In an article posted Aug. 21, 2017 to the National Post, the Washington Post describes the ugly truth behind India’s fast economic growth. According to this article, over 33 million children as young as five years old are working to maintain India’s large economy. UNICEF India’s child protection chief claims that “child labor is being seen as something which is too difficult to stop”. There are a few reasons why things are going so slowly for these children’s case. India’s prime minister Narendra Modi, elected in 2014, is very focused on their economy’s growth. While it is true that he contributed greatly to the rapid development of his country’s economy, he did not do it through ethical methods. Not only are the child workers deprived from a proper education, they are overworked and underpaid. It is true that some laws were put in place to protect their conditions, but they are not strictly enforced as child labor is very “under the table”. Economists claim that this type of workforce is a good thing for the country, as the low wages depress India’s average wage. But child labor is also a huge cause for unemployment, taking jobs away from qualified adults who need them. Thinking long-term, the grown-ups of the future will be far less educated because they were busy working all childhood long.
Regardless of how far we are in distance to these child workers, we have the power to help. We simply need to look into the products we use, eat and wear and find what kind of labor was used to produce them. Some examples of huge companies which almost all of us have at some point contributed to are Nestle, H&M, Walmart, Victoria’s Secret, Apple and Hershey’s, to name a few. Once we know about the exploitation these companies use, we can avoid them as best we can or at least raise awareness on the situation. The condition of the children being thrown into the workforce at such a young age may seem distant to us, but we actually have a certain control over it. To the government of India, I would say, think of all the individuals involved. Families are being split apart and children are being condemned to low wage jobs for the rest of their lives because they could not receive a proper education. What is more important to you? Is it your country’s values and the welfare of the people living under your watch or is it money? Is it really acceptable to encourage unethical methods to reach financial success?