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Quotation of the Day…

… is from pages 9-10 of economists Phil Gramm’s, Robert Ekelund’s, and John Early’s superb 2022 book, The Myth of American Inequality: How Government Biases Policy Debate (footnote deleted, link added):

Children had worked as field hands and servants since the beginning of settled agriculture more than ten thousand years before [the Industrial Revolution]. There is no evidence that child labor was more pervasive in urban areas during the early nineteenth century than it had been in rural areas. But there is overwhelming evidence that the movement from the farm to the factory led to a dramatic reduction in child labor. As economic historian Clark Nardinelli concluded, “Technological change reduced the demand for child labor and increasing income reduced the supply. The Factory Acts, then, did not cause the long-term decline in child labor.” The broad-based abundance created by the Industrial Revolution during the Victorian era produced widespread school attendance and almost-universal literacy. In closing the ugly ten-millennial chapter of child labor by the end of 1900, the Industrial Revolution ushered in a new chapter of childhood nurturing and learning.