Thomas Sowell
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Editor's note: This is Part IV in a series. Part I can be found here. Part II can be found here. Part III can be found here.

At the heart of the left's vision of the world is the implicit assumption that high-minded third parties like themselves can make better decisions for other people than those people can make for themselves.

That arbitrary and unsubstantiated assumption underlies a wide spectrum of laws and policies over the years, ranging from urban renewal to ObamaCare.

One of the many international crusades by busybodies on the left is the drive to limit the hours of work by people in other countries -- especially poorer countries -- in businesses operated by multinational corporations. One international monitoring group has taken on the task of making sure that people in China do not work more than the legally prescribed 49 hours per week.

Why international monitoring groups, led by affluent Americans or Europeans, would imagine that they know what is best for people who are far poorer than they are, and with far fewer options, is one of the many mysteries of the busybody elite.

As someone who left home at the age of 17, with no high school diploma, no job experience and no skills, I spent several years learning the hard way what poverty is like. One of the happier times during those years was a brief period when I worked 60 hours a week -- 40 hours delivering telegrams during the day and 20 hours working part-time in a machine shop at night.

Why was I happy? Because, before finding these jobs, I had spent weeks desperately looking for any job, while my meager savings dwindled down to literally my last dollar, before finally finding the part-time job at night in a machine shop.

I had to walk several miles from the rooming house where I lived in Harlem to the machine shop located just below the Brooklyn Bridge, in order to save that last dollar to buy bread until I got a payday.

When I then found a full-time job delivering telegrams during the day, the money from the two jobs combined was more than I had ever made before. I could pay the back rent I owed on my room and both eat and ride the subways back and forth to work.

I could even put aside some money for a rainy day. It was the closest thing to nirvana for me.

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Thomas Sowell

Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institute and author of The Housing Boom and Bust.

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