Socratic Society

"Structural Injustice and the Global Problem of Child Labor"

Ashley Kennedy, Florida Atlantic


The global problem of child labor is severe in many countries around the world. While one of the driving factors behind the practice is, unsurprisingly, poverty, in this project one of my aims is to demonstrate that other reasons, in the form of structural injustices, contribute as well. Using the specific example of the country of Myanmar, and drawing on my own field research interviews conducted there in 2017 and 2019, I will use philosophical analysis to examine these reasons which include, in addition to poverty, poor quality of public education, deeply rooted, strategic injustice in the form of an unfair matriculation exam, and gender inequity in the job market. The aim of the project is to both explicate how the global problem of child labor is related to structural injustice and to attempt to propose some possible solutions to it. In the case of child labor in Myanmar, what this involves is not only “working toward a political community able to take on emergent manifestations of injustice,” but also “looking consistently to those in struggle to develop the means to address” it (Ackerly, 2018 p.46).



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The Socratic Society of Portland State University is a venue for Philosophy faculty and philosophers from outside the University to present papers or speak on various topics of interest. 

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