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The rabble would not be so named were they not easily roused, and it is thus I find myself forced to speak up in defense of that beloved mother which has nourished our country for so long - Commerce. There are those who suggest Commerce is sickly and must be reformed, ignoring that she has elevated us to a plane of existence where war between the nations is impossible as a matter of algebraics! No, fair Commerce has no need for your physic.

Who dares to even suggest my workers are not paid a wage? I assure you, they are all paid, from the tallest (Graham, the lost Circus-Boy) to the smallest (Moirin, who is but four and one third years of age). Not in currency - an overrated item, as any stock-holder in a tungsten mine can assure you - but in experience. Why, I'll wager there's nary a child in Siam knows how to properly clean a steam pipe from the inside, a talent we instill early on in my factories. Yes, I make mine toil, unlike that lazy fatling Mack Brown. He but hardly canes a soul down there!

And there are other benefits as well. Crow's meat for breakfast, crow's meat for lunch, and cardamom crow's meat on Christmas! Moreover, once per month I throw a pair of my old shoes onto the factory floor and let them fight for the prize. We lose a worker or two, but it's simple Darwinism. "Take heart, tiny flesh-cogs, for I was once in your meagre position!" I bellow. "Verily?" comes back a single enquiry. "Of course not!" I reply. And then said impudent employee is given a shift in the monoxodizing chamber.

For the people are not paying for the labour of these demi-adults. (Your insistence on using the term "child workers" shows how little faith you have in them and is a discredit to you.) No, they choose to purchase DOCTOR R. STOOPS'S MEDICAL HAIR AND SHOE BLACK FOR ENGLISHMEN AND SPANISH HORSES. There is no piece of this vast machinery larger than the corporation itself, despite my efforts to create an Embiggening Salve.

These workers are privileged. One day, in halcyon days to come when we all live in balloon palaces amongst the clouds, they will look down and remember what they built. That pride will be worth more than any wage or holiday or thumb lost in the gears. You say we must alter our business model to provide them with a measure of equity? I say you will rob them of what little dignity they still have, sir.