Sangat luar biasa baca ini. Sebuah buku dari professor ekonomi di Inggris. Dia menjelaskan ttg sejarahnya inggris menjadi pemimpin dunia di abad ke-19, lewat perdagangan dan industri. Tapi banyak orang tidak tahu bahwa perkembangan industry di inggris itu terjadi karena ada banyak pekerja anak miskin yang dipaksakan kerja, yang setara dgn budak, walaupun tidak disebut budak. Ada yang mulai kerja di usia 4-8 tahun. Di tambang batu bara, pabrik, pertanian dll. anak kecil dan anak yatim dari keluarga miskin dipaksakan kerja sampai 18 jam per hari. Tidak ada UU negara yang melindunginya, dan bos2 di tempat kerja itu sangat kejam dgn banyak bentuk hukuman bagi anak yang kerjakan kurang cepat, dan membuang saja anak yang kena kecelakaan (jadi cacat) dan ambil anak baru. Tidak ada hak sama sekali. Dia atas kerjanya anak2 kecil itu, Inggris bisa bangkit dan menjadi pemimpin!
Britain's Child Slaves
They started at 4am, lived off acorns and had nails put through their ears for shoddy work. Yet, says a new book, their misery helped forge Britain.
By Annabel Venning for MailOnline 17 September 2010
The Industrial Revolution brought immense prosperity to the British Empire. Not only did Britannia rule the waves, she ruled the global marketplace, too, dominating trade in cotton, wool and other commodities, while her inventors devised ingenious machinery to push productivity ever higher.
But, as a new book by Jane Humphries, a professor of economic history, shows, a terrible price was paid for this success by the labourers who serviced the machines, pushed the coal carts and turned the wheels that drove the Industrial Revolution. As British productivity soared, more machines and factories were built, and so more children were recruited to work in them. During the 1830s, the average age of a child labourer officially was ten, but in reality some were as young as four.
But to many of the monied classes, the poor were invisible: an inhuman sub-species who did not have the same feelings as their own and whose sufferings were unimportant. If they spared a thought for them at all, it was nothing more than a shudder of revulsion at the filth and disease they carried. Children were the ideal labourers: they were cheap (paid just 10-20 per cent of a man's wage) and could fit into small spaces such as under machinery and through narrow tunnels.
But despite the growth of cities, agriculture remained the biggest employer of children during the Industrial Revolution. While they might have escaped the deadly fumes and machinery of the factories, the life of a child farm labourer was every bit as brutal. Children as young as five worked in gangs, digging turnips from frozen soil or spreading manure. Many were so hungry that they resorted to eating rats.