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Permitting private property does not mean that reasonable limits can’t be drawn i.e. preventing private monopolies or preventing the rich form wielding too much influence over politics. In contrast to the theories of the libertarians and anarcho-capitalists, nationalist economics must allow a significant role for the state to regulate private industry. Capitalists are not naturally benevolent. They do not hire their workers out of charity or a sense of goodwill towards them. They hire them in order to profit from their labour. Consequently, they will generally consider the welfare of the worker only with a view towards increasing his productivity. This may lead, in the absence of government intervention, towards workers having low wages, poor working conditions, and a lack of other rights such as maternity leave. During the early Industrial Revolution in Britain, workers often toiled in horrendous conditions for up to 12 hours a day. Many of the workers were children since they were paid less than adults and their nimble little fingers and fresh eyes that hadn’t been ruined by years of strain meant that they could accomplish tasks that their parents couldn’t. This led to the ridiculous situation in which parents would be sitting at home unemployed and children would be going to work. There is an illuminating account of a visit to a pin factory in Birmingham in the 1840s, in which the toilet was “utterly unfit for the use of human beings” and where a sinister female “with [the] cane in her hand” (Pike, Human Documents of the Industrial Revolution), stalked the factory floor, waiting to give a good crack to any child who dared to slack in their work. Conditions such as this were widespread. Without the state making the use of child labour illegal, we might still have children toiling in factories today, as they still do in some foreign countries.
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