Why we have laws about business practices

I was poking around in the Library of Congress photo database and ran across these Lewis Hine photos of children who worked at the cotton mills in Augusta, Ga.

A doffer boy in the Globe Cotton Mill, January 1909

They're a stark reminder of why we have government regulation of business practices. Corporations have no heart, no soul, no conscience and no values. Lawless capitalism leads to scenes like these.

Child workers outside the Enterprise Mill, January 1909

Eunice Hadwin earned 75 cents to $1 per day as a spinner. When photographed, she already had been working for five years.

King Mill workers lived in these conditions in Gregtown, an Augusta neighborhood

Lest we feel too complacent -- after all, haven't we abolished child labor? -- consider that globalism has simply exported the problem to countries with weak regulation. Next time you pick up a pair of $75 jeans at the mall, think about who did the cotton spinning, denim weaving, cutting and sewing. And it's not just children, of course; the Chinese worker who assembled your Apple iPhone may have committed suicide over working conditions.


Hear, hear. Unfortunately, a lot of businessmen equate regulation with bigger government. The two can be mutually exclusive.