October 11, 2018
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Reaction Paper on Hidden Heads of Household
1.Within Brazil, poor children are found in situations that they can't escape due to extreme poverty and globalization and even culture. Children are sometimes considered head of households, due to their parent's inability to contribute sufficient income, hence, they would be forced to assist. Like for instance, when a mother cannot work due to pregnancy or staying home to take care of the infants, children would be likely to work to replace their mother, "I realized that it was the littlest one who was getting the most money.
So, I let them go alone, until today." (Kenny, 1997, p.97) Due, to the low amount of employment available, families must move around frequently to available jobs, which most likely led them to overcrowded, violent favela nearby. Culture and politicians contribute into the factor that poor children within these situations, since children have the mindset that they are unskilled and must work in dirty conditions and politics would lie that they would help on "gas, light and water bills. However, they do not. They just wanted a vote. Children are forced upon their situation based on their family situation and poverty.
2.In Brazil, globalization and economy are global influences that foster child labor. Child labor was influence due to the increase of wealth, since it brought upon an increase of poverty and inequality. A global shift in production resulted into the growth of favelas, where more children were born into. In those horrible conditions they were forced to find a job at a young age to receive for in their plates every night.
Also, due to the "increase of capital investment in factories" in Brazil "where the labor is cheap, labor laws are not enforced" brought upon more increase of children working there. Also, factory owners preferred children since they can pay them fewer wages. The increase of economy brought upon the desire of more workers to be able produce more goods.
3.As the author emphasizes how she will give details, and the problematic study will result into good results, I honest expected more. I felt it could be consider an exploitation method, but not a study that led to good result. Yes, it did help numerous programs to be formed, yet exploitation does the same. It did not impact the whole situation in a large extent, it pushed positively, but it did not force individuals to stop and wonder what they could do to change the problem.
It does a good job, emphasizing the suffering young children are faced and provokes us readers to feel sympathy and heartache knowing what is happening to them. However, does not give valid results, since the programs are not enforced they are created, yet not pushed forward into action. The author herself can use the situation for her benefit for her research. There was no real solution for her study.
4.Global tourism is one of the issues that affect the lives of many children negatively and positively based on the description given in the book. Some children will arrive at 8 am at the tourist location, to beg for tourist for money, however, sometimes they frequently were only offered food, but the kids wanted money due to the easier way to split money among each other and be able to buy what they want with it and hang on to some.
Another, positive aspect of tourism was that they brought employment to male children like guides, vendors and based on the satisfaction they might be able to gain extra money or food additionally from their fee for tours. But, for girls sometimes global tourism would be a negative aspect for them, since most of the time they could not have the same jobs as boys due to their physical appearance, hence, they would work in the sex industry.
Sexual relationship with foreigners was in the hopes for young women, since it was a strategy for them to deal with poverty, and a desire for travel and material goods. Girls with low-esteem preferred foreigners to Brazilian men, since they thought they treated them better and believed in the hopes of opportunities would come around. In their perspective they believed they were happy since even if they lacked the formal education and financial safety net, they provided money to their family and felt some statues with their peers. The tourist industry brought exploitation of the poor children, however, at the same time brought hopes.
5.The author refers to "agent" they mean a representative of the whole community or household on their behalf. Specifically, the "agents" the author refers to is the children, since they are truly the spokesperson telling their own reality of the harsh situations they are facing. In fact, the children should be agents in crafting policies that affect their situation, since it directly affects them.
They are the ones who are facing poverty, low wages and harsh conditions and sometimes even the responsibility to have to put money on the table for their family. A fourteen-year-old child should not have the responsibility to work and not be able to receive an education, so why shouldn't they be able to craft the policies that are affecting their own lives. It's not the politicians nor the high-income class or even the adults who are being directly affect, it's the children.
They are the ones who are working and facing conditions that most individuals do not face at their age and no one really knows what goes on in their lives, since yes we can research about it, but it does not mean we face it every day like they do, so they should be ones who craft the certain policies rather than those viewing them "as sweet little victims."
6. Globalization isn't a tool to eliminate child labor in Brazil or elsewhere. It may be able to increase the employment and even the earnings to poor households in developing countries. But, the more desire for export products led to an increase of demand for labor, however, not towards adults. Within factories, they would prefer children since they could pay them less for their labor.
Also, their shortness was desirable, since "they could fit in small holes and under machines." (Kenny, 1997, p.7) Adults would be unemployed, or those in Brazil will work along with their children in the mills or textile factories. Altogether, globalization brought a negative effect, since when Brazil created a minor code to restrict children into working only six hours, parents did not like the idea which didn't led to the enforcement, nor was there an elimination of child labor.
Also, the global shift increased the growth of urban favelas, which led poverty becoming deeper in Brazil and those who most likely work in factories would live in poverty, due to their low income. Globalization brings a desire for interaction of economy and prosperity, with no consideration of how children are treated. There is a more focus on the products than those creating the products.
- Kenny, M. L. (1997). Hidden heads of households: Child labor in Northeast Brazil.
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