The study introduced in the ‘Future of work’ is fascinating for its insights on how notions of effort and leisure have changed over 150 years (Oxford Today, Michaelmas 2014, p. 20, also in fuller form online). But might professors Gershuny and Fisher also address child labour?

Consider, for instance, a factory that employs 12-year-old children. Except these wouldn’t be the grey-faced waifs enslaved to the looms of the nineteenth century. Rather they could be super-moppets in, say, Rockville, Maryland, suburbia who’re putting in some skill-forming hours from home or school as they virtually punch in to an automotive parts manufacturer in India. Or vice versa.

They would be learning in engaging, purposeful, and possibly saleable ways. No reason why not.