Sunday, April 15, 2012

Theories Regarding the Growth of Government

I'm putting my work on Pathway to Prosperity on the back burner while I focus on growing my for profit business and doing what I can to be useful during the upcoming presidential campaign. Nevertheless, I think I do want to address the larger question of what causes the growth of government. I'm concerned that there is too little attention to the role that the elimination of child labor has on our culture and our government institutions. Remove child labor and you need to provide somewhere for children to be taken care of outside of the farm or factory. They need to be in school and we need to have financial support for them if their parents are killed or injured and unable to work. For an interesting book that looks into the causes of larger government while neglecting the role, apparently, of child labor reform, see Robert Higgs’s 1987 book Crisis and Leviathan: Critical Episodes in the Growth of American Government. Here is the link.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

News Alert: Philippines Seeks to Make Progress on Family Size

When I was in the Philippines in 2006, I was profoundly disappointed by the large amount of child labor I saw along the roadsides. The Philippines, however, is trying to make some progress by encouraging smaller families. See, In the long-run, however, I don't think they will make much progress unless they rapidly step up enforcement of child labor and compulsory schooling laws that make it harder for parents to treat their children as sources of labor and income.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Pathway to Prosperity Seeks to Address Issues of Child Labor and Human Trafficking in Fiji

As you may know, P2P has been monitoring human trafficking in Fiji for over a year and is pleased to report that Fiji has successfully prosecuted its first case regarding human trafficking on November 10, 2010. At the Suva High Court, assessors delivered a unanimous guilty verdict against Kadali Murti – who was charged with one count of trafficking in person(s) and seven counts of obtaining property by deception.

Two members of P2P’s board of directors, Gar Myers and Grant McNiff, met face-to-face with the Prime Minister of Fiji - Commodore Frank Bainimarama - to discuss initiatives to improve law enforcement, governance and anti-trafficking in Fiji in 2010.

Under the direction of Mr. Myers, Dean Williams, a Professor in the Harvard School of Government has also met with Mr. Bainimarama - and met with the U.S. and U.N. Ambassadors from Fiji - to discuss the application of Dr. Williams’ assessment and intervention strategies in Fiji earlier this year.

One of P2P’s advisory board members, Sheila McNiff, is a Catholic nun with over 10 years of experience in international humanitarian work including leadership and direct service to girls and women harmed by sexual exploitation and human trafficking.

Although Dr. Drew, the President of Pathway to Prosperity, has not met with Mr. Bainimarama, Dr. Drew is encouraged by the improvements taking place in Fiji. Dr. Drew is an award-winning author, trainer and consultant who has provided training to improve the productivity and effectiveness of government officials and NGO leaders in Afghanistan (2010), China (2002), Egypt (2008) and the Philippines (2005). Dr. Drew has also served on the Board of Directors of Health Development International (HID) which has provided management training – including exposure to human trafficking issues - to hospital CEOs in Brazil, China, Guatemala, India, Philippines and South Africa in conjunction with the International Hospital Federation (IHF).

The P2P team has experience in the management and successful implementation of federal grants. Mr. McNiff, for example, has successfully implemented one of California’s most effective Drug-Free Communities grants involving collaboration, data-collection and training with representatives from law enforcement, government, schools, universities, non-profit organizations and treatment providers in Orange County, CA. Recently, Dr. Drew has served as the outside evaluator for a $2.6 million Title V grant conducted as a collaborative project between Rio Hondo College and Whittier College. In addition, Mr. Myers has recently visited Fiji to investigate the conditions on the ground in Fiji.

Fiji is a source country for children trafficked for purposes of labor and commercial sexual exploitation, and a destination country for women from the People's Republic of China, Thailand, and India trafficked for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation. Pathway to Prosperity’s Fiji Forward Project will implement the Fiji-specific recommendations listed in the country narratives of the 2010 G/TIP Report as a diagnostic tool and to guide anti-trafficking programming.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Social Justice Activists Have No Idea What Causes Poverty - There, I Said It

Earlier this month, I noticed Glenn Beck of Fox and Jim Wallis of Sojourner's were crossing swords over the incendiary topic of social justice and the Bible. Beck got things started on his radio show when he said, "I beg you, look for the words 'social justice' or 'economic justice' on your church Web site. If you find it, run as fast as you can. Social justice and economic justice, they are code words…If you have a priest that is pushing social justice, go find another parish."

Wallis, however, really frightened me with his effort to twist the Christian faith to promote cold, anti-capitalist propaganda. “Beck says Christians should leave their social justice churches,” remarked Wallis, “so I say Christians should leave Glenn Beck…what he has said attacks the very heart of our Christian faith, and Christians should no longer watch his show.”

"When your political philosophy," said Wallis, "is to consistently favor the rich over the poor you don't want to hear about economic justice."

I’m thankful Glenn Beck is calling attention to something I have found annoying about the Christian churches I have attended over the years – a tendency to swap socially accepted ideas that the rich allow poverty to exist for selfish reasons for contemporary social science perspectives, perspectives that trace poverty to individual or family-level variables including child labor, lack of schooling, drug and alcohol abuse, teen pregnancy, failure to save and invest, inappropriate single-parenting and so on.

I was flabbergasted back in 2005 when my Southern Baptist church signed on to the famous ONE Campaign, a massive media blitz which had the goal of changing government policies to save lives in Africa.

The group included a coalition of dopey celebrities and august religious leaders such as Live 8's Bob Geldof, U2's Bono, Kanye West, Rick Warren and Pat Robertson. This eclectic group endorsed policies which – from the perspective of a political economist – would lead to worse poverty including: 1) Doubling financial aid sent to the world's poorest countries, 2) Debt cancellation for the poorest nations and 3) Reform of trade laws so poor nations are not shut out of global markets.

As a political scientist, I found this whole “social justice” theme – generally soak the rich, in disguise - appalling and grossly insensitive to unintended consequences. As we saw in the case of welfare reform in the U.S., public subsidization of foolish decisions takes away the honor and prestige of those who practice personal responsibility. Even worse, social justice advocates distract our attention from the real changes needed to end global poverty.

In my view, for example, I think efforts to abolish child labor and enforce compulsory schooling in America and Europe have been infinitely more successful in ending poverty and promoting economic development than any totalitarian scheme of redistribution. This is because poor parents traditionally use child labor as a primitive form of social security, disability insurance and free maid service. Although poor parents temporarily benefit from the exploitation of their children's labor, they do so at a profound cost to their children's education, intellectual development and future earning power.

The incentives for poor parents to exploit child labor is the reason why democracy, child labor, illiteracy and unremitting poverty go hand-in-hand in places like India and the Philippines. In contrast, Vietnam and China cracked down on child labor and have experienced striking and immediate improvements in economic prosperity.

Our contemporary view that parents should support their children is turned upside down so much in other developing countries that poor parents routinely seek to profit from their offspring by selling them into sexual slavery or work camps. In some backward nations, child labor is so freely available that parents inefficiently misuse a child's mind by applying their unlimited human potential to the mundane task of carrying water.

Instead of attacking the morals of wealthy countries, opponents of global poverty should be focused on eradicating primitive indigenous practices that shock our conscience. Ideally, we should use the power of religious faith to modernize cultures that still use little children as human water pipes, personal servants, agricultural robots and sexual slaves. Glenn Beck reminds me “social justice” advocates often demand international, socialist redistribution to fix problems that could be more easily and efficiently solved with inexpensive condoms and strictly enforced child labor and compulsory schooling laws.

John C. Drew, Ph.D. is an award-winning political scientist.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

New Movie The End of Poverty? Perpetuates Myths About Causes of Poverty

Once again, I'm saddened that a lack of understanding of the true causes of poverty in Sub-Saharan Africa - and elsewhere - causes the makers of this movie to miss the big picture: Countries create their own poverty by not enforcing child labor and compulsory schooling laws. In line with existing modernization theory and paradigms, the filmmakers blame normal win-win international financing arrangements for continuing poverty in Sub-Saharan Africa. Here is the trailer for the film:

Even in rich countries, we could turn them into poor countries in a generation or two if we allowed parents to benefit from sending their children to work rather than school. Here's my Pathway to Prosperity rating of this movie: _ _ _ _ _

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

New Inspiration for Making Pathway to Prosperity Useful for Conceptualizing Progress

I had a breakthrough last night for Pathway to Prosperity. A lot of what I'm trying to do with this charity is emphasize the critical importance of child labor law enforcement and compulsory schooling as the ultimate answer for the elimination of world-wide poverty, illiteracy, and disease. As far as I can tell, most folks in the field still do not understand how crucial these factors are to flipping from a world of poverty to a world of possibility.

Here's my plan. When I see a story that shows folks are moving in the right direction, I'll award them + signs for going forward in the right direction. If they are going in the wrong direction, I'll award them - signs. This will be done on a scale of 1 to 5 so that the best possible forward movement will receive +++++ plus signs and the worst movement backwards will get - - - - - negative signs.

Potentially, this rating scale could be established for each country regarding its progress on eliminating child labor. The point is to begin a fresh education process which helps those fighting child labor see the complete significance of their efforts in a historical perspective.