A Realistic Dream

I had learned very little economics, but I got interested enough in it, to lurk on debates going on between economists, on Usenet. So I knew the debates, the positions of both sides, and had clear opinions on which side had the more solid ideas.

In the realistic dream, Sonia had just won a great victory, and came to tell me (for I am Y'sa) about it. She was exultant. I asked what she was going to do with her great victory. She was exuberant in her answer. All the bad things would be fixed. She will bring about a wonderful country. First of all, she was very concerned about child labor, and was going to totally, like totally, eliminate it.

Now it was my turn to grow concerned. I had been listening to economists over this debate. Child labor sounds like child exploitation, so it should go, obviously - that's the first approximation. But I knew there was a lot more to it. If child labor were outlawed, and there wasn't enough affluence to bring in better conditions immediately, it would just lead to suffering. The families had become used to, and needed, that money. They weren't sending out children to work out of cruelty. The children were learning skills that, in many cases, would be much better and useful in their future than history and literature lessons. Yes, among the well-to-do, it's axiomatic that children should go to school and obtain a good all around education. But the poor were, well, not well-to-do. You had to understand their conditions.

Also, people pointed out - in the West child labor was normal until relatively recently, when rising affluence made it unnecessary

So anyway, I had seen the arguments, and was convinced it was not a good idea to just outlaw child labor.

And yet, the lady was so happy, so exuberant, I sure didn't want to dampen her enthusiasm for doing good. What to do?

I sort of went, you will be fine, you will have advisers, listen to them. What advisers? Well, in economic forums I had heard of this guy Mr. Singh mentioned rather favorably. Apparently he actually seemed to understand the deep arguments. So I pointed him out.

I don't know what happened, but the victory went to Mr. Singh instead. That wasn't what I had suggested, I just had pointed him out as someone to listen to. But it worked out all right.