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Nov 19, 2007

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Darren Belajac

It is fascinating how I've never really considered whether child labor was unequivocally "wrong." What a Western, developed world presupposition!

In my community in the city of Pittsburgh, there is currently a good deal of economic and (eventually) infrastructure development. This is a community where 80% of the housing is rental and 30% of the households earn less than $10,000 a year (according to a 1999 census, although numbers have probably not changed much). We are working through the tough questions of how to have community development without having resident displacement and/or gentrification due to rising costs of living.

The comments on rent control (with which I agree) are apt to my situation as I have already encountered this economic fallacy. Though I must admit, I do not have an alternative answer!

T

Your point re: child labor is a good one: If you want to eliminate child labor, making a law against it may not get you what you're hoping for, depending on the local economy and particular situation a given child is in.

Regarding a current "translation" of the Jubilee into today's world, I'd like to get your feedback on an idea regarding public education; I'll have to email it to you.

Michael W. Kruse

Redevelopment and gentrification are are hard issues. We've lived in an urban core neighborhood for 18 years that has experienced considerable genetrification. It is a challegne.

Michael W. Kruse

I look for the e-mail T. Sounds intriguing

Andy

Hey Michael,

You said: "Today, as we look at many developing nations, justice folks champion an end to all child labor. In many developing nations, half the population or more is under 18 years old. What is often not taken into account is that the alternative to children working is not children going to school for an education. The alternative is prostitution, starvation, or worse. Until basic survival needs are met, removal of children from the work force is not practical. This violates our sensibilities and there is no question it is far from what we desire for others. Yet uncritically imposing our pious sense of moral judgment on these cultures can do great harm, despite our best intentions. I’m by no means saying that the ethics with these issues are easy to sort out but doctrinaire pietism is not the answer."

I think I hear you desire for real solutions, but I worry than in an attempt to wrestle with what's on the ground, you come across as not appreciating the place of "visionary rhetoric" {i'll use that instead of doctrinaire pietism}. Surely, we call for the kingdom to come in these developing nations, which would see basic needs met AND the end of child labor etc etc. While having to soberly iron out pragmatic solutions in real time, much of what Jesus did and subsequent apostles was rhetorical. Would you agree that much of the prophets, Jesus and early church was involved in painting stories that invited people to imagine a new future, while knowing that practical realities on the ground needed to be worked through?

If this is the case, I want the justice folks heralding their stuff and I also want those who walk us through step by step tangible solutions.

My 2 Cents...

Michael W. Kruse

"Surely, we call for the kingdom to come in these developing nations, which would see basic needs met AND the end of child labor etc etc. While having to soberly iron out pragmatic solutions in real time, much of what Jesus did and subsequent apostles was rhetorical. Would you agree that much of the prophets, Jesus and early church was involved in painting stories that invited people to imagine a new future, while knowing that practical realities on the ground needed to be worked through?"

Bingo! I could write more here but I'd just invite you to check out my post for Tuesday.

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