Thursday, January 15, 2009

Myron Weiner an Expert on Child Labor

Myron Weiner
A passionate activist on Child Labor in developing countries

Professor of Political Science Myron Weiner is an internationally known authority on political change in developing countries. Professor Weiner wrote extensively on internal and international migration, political demography, ethnic conflict, child labor and education, democratization, and the politics of developing countries. He was an expert on India's politics, ethnic conflicts, education, and agrarian and industrial policies.

Dr. Weiner had been chair of the External Research and Advisory Committee of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees since 1996. He was engaged in three projects: (1) examining policies toward immigration, refugees, illegal migration and citizenship in Japan, Germany, the United States and South Africa; (2) analyzing conditions which generate migration and refugee flows and the policy instruments available to receiving countries and international institutions to ameliorate these conditions; and (3) researching child labor and educational policy in India and other developing countries.

Dr. Weiner's 1991 book The Child and the State in India: Child Labor and Education Policy in Comparative Perspective (Princeton University Press) is in its fourth edition in India and has contributed to the debate in that country over how child labor can be ended. Under the auspices of UNICEF, he has lectured in India on education and child labor and has consulted with government officials there.

Before Dr. Weiner's work the general view of many politicians was that India was simply too poor to do very much about either child labor or the lack of universal access to education. The thinking was that poor parents sent their children to work to help the family budget and this was not likely to change until incomes rose.

Mr. Weiner countered by presenting historical arguments showing that in poor 19th-century societies like Scotland, reforms expanding education, which were spurred by religious ideals, preceded rather than followed higher incomes. Even more convincingly, his charts showed that countries much poorer than India, including a number in Africa, had done a better contemporary job than India in reducing illiteracy and extending education. In the book, China, the country to which India has so often been compared and to which it often compares itself, was also shown to have done better than India.

Joshua Cohen, the chairman of the Department of Political Science at M.I.T., said that the book had a profound impact in India. ''Here was a work, written by a friend of India, which presented irrefutable facts. It presented comparative statistics, and while it raised moral issues, it was not written as a moral diatribe.''

Myron Weiner would be a very credible communicator for ending child labor around the world.

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  1. Hello sir, my friend and I were wondering if we could talk to you about child labor for our project oft history day. Please contact us on

    1. i also am doing a history day project for NHD. Just wondered if you have found any interviews. If you haven't can you please let me know so i may stop looking.

  2. I am also writing a paper in regards to child labor. Have you interviewed someone expert on the topic? Thank you