Greedy Goblin

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Oh poor people

This isn't game related, but I just had to share this with you. This is a Hungarian article, so don't bother clicking. It's about a poor woman being evicted with her 3 kids from her rent because she didn't pay. Activists protested for the "victim". She stays with relatives, her stuff were transported to a warehouse:

Yes. That television screen is part of her stuff. I'd love to have such display for games, but I don't think that a fragile, quickly obsoleting piece of technology would be a good investment and my current 23" main and 21" secondary screen are serving me well. So it would be irresponsible to waste the money on that. She - with no other income than welfare - disagreed and bought it. After all, she deserves full HD entertainment.

And activists gathered to protect this woman and demand the city to give her a place to stay. Sometimes I wonder if social people are capable of understanding "being responsible".


JackTheManiac said...

Quick tip: Google Chrome has Google Translate integrated, or you can juste paste a link in Google Translate and it'll make it in english. It has its flaws but it's the best we can get.

Well regarding this.

Yeah, HDTVs when you're on welfare... not so great. But, that women has three kids who need psychiatric help.

She's not being thrown on the street because she has an HDTV. I'm not sure how many month of rents her HDTV would get her, either. I agree that people on welfare have priorities rather than HDTVs.

However, throwing her on the street. The english (translated by google) version of the article
is sketchy and I don't really understand why she's being thrown out, something about a debt she's trying to pay but the government won't let her for a reason I can't make out?

I can't pronounce myself, but is your point that there are no support for people in poverty? Throw them in the streets? Make them homeless?

If they can save their money and manage to buy an HDTV, or get a cheap one somewhere, I don't see the problem. I don't see them getting it new, on credit.

Only linking the picture is somewhat misleading.

Esteban said...

Thanks to the magic of Google Translate, Hungarian is no longer an insurmountable barrier for a Spaniard.

The whole 'how dare poor people have TVs' thing is often trotted out on the right wing. It betrays a basic misunderstanding of the quiet desperation in which these people live.

The woman is alone with three children with psychiatric problems on account of some accident. Her life is hell. She is never going to remarry. She's not going to have much of a social life. Or much opportunity for the pleasure of intellectual 'flow'. The TV isn't a luxury, it's a mental dead end, a small passive distraction to plant her eyes into to switch off her tormented brain and stop worrying about tomorrow for a few hours.

Anonymous said...

She - with no other income than welfare - disagreed and bought it. After all, she deserves full HD entertainment.

or she won it on a radio quiz, or she was given it by her children for her birthday, or her old TV blew up and this was a scratch and dent bargain at the second hand shop?

You jump to a massive conclusion by outright stating she thought she deserved it and went and "wasted her money" on it. For games. No less.

Provi Miner said...

What you are seeing is people reaction to a story without full information. The activists see the TV but they don't see it. To them possessions are just that possessions what it took to get them doesn't matter.

Remember they see a zero sum game: lady kids no place to live. And they think that is wrong. They do ask "why did she not pay her rent?". They see she has no "money" they don't ask why she doesn't have money.

Social activists are always like that they never see/ask beyond the injustice.

you see a man hung on the side of the road you say "how horrible, how did he end up there" they see the same thing and thing "how horrible that should never happen"

But you know this, an interesting example is to look to the US hippie culture of the late 60's to mid 70's all those "free love" kids ended up in management running companies working 80 + hours a week all for the money. Activists are the same now as then the difference is how easy it is to spread their message. Again a US reference the watts riots in LA if they were to happen today (see Occupy wall street) it would spread to every metro area. Because they can share their views of the injustice in moments.

Gevlon said...

@Jack: that TV would have paid years of rent. She was in a city building which have "welfare rent", much less than the market rent.

If I had to guess, they bought it on credit from a loanshark. It's so widespread that being a loanshark (giving out loans for interest without being a registered bank) is a crime here.

- she could work on fixing her problems
- she could put her mentally ill kids to an institution where they get proper treatment
- she could buy a small, used TV

@Anonymous: if she won it on a radio quiz, she could sell it as new and spend it on her loan.

Hanura said...

So those social activists think that it is wrong that she's thrown onto the street, very well. But why do they demand *the city* to give her a place to stay? Why don't they take her into their own homes, feed her on their own tables?

It is easy to demand that she is given shelter if you're not the one how is paying.

Anonymous said...

You misunderstand the mindset of people in these situations.
from the outside it is very easy to think clearly about pro/con, money planning etc.
you think only the children need psych help because the article states that they actuelly get some?
when some (no idea about this specific case) people are down they don't engage reality. they don't open their letters because there might be a bill in them. they don't go to / follow welfare regulations etc.

think about it like going up to a clinically depressed person and tell him 'hey, the sun is shining. stop being sad.' his reaction would be the same as you going to these people saying 'hey, start managing your finances and stop being in debt.'

that's not how it works.

Gevlon said...

@Anonymous: a clinically depressed is taken to the hospital (even against his will) and medicated to save him from suicide.

Do you think poor should be institutionalized too? If not, why do you consider them medically unable to change their situation.

Anonymous said...

That's an iternational problem. There are always some people living from welfare with highes priority in TV and Entertainment equipment, tobacco and having at least three big dogs. But they are so poor, that always social activist cry to increase the welfare standards. Actually it's already better (in regards of money gained) for some to get welfare than to work..

Anonymous said...

"that's not how it works."

Then how it works? You pay for all their mistakes and expect them not to repeat them? I can't even begin to imagine how can someone with a functional brain buy an expensive TV set instead of paying months of rent when on the brink of eviction.

Anonymous said...

anon from 08:38 here.

not every depression is clinically. but that's not the point, just an example.

i don't think all poor people are the same. that's the main point.
there are a lot of poor people that struggle and work really hard to search for work if they have none (don't forget working poor), keep up on their welfare obligations (if needed) and still give their kids some kind of childhood.
but there are also a few poor people that loose their grip on reality. most of these stories feature the latter half and one or two sensationalist photos. if even 1% of poor people have an expensive tv, you can fill newspapers of poor people with tv's because there are so many poor people. like super novas. extremely rare but so many galaxies make it daily occurences.

=> i don't know how to deal with the minority of poor people that are out of touch with reality. maybe forced intervention? maybe letting them die on the street?
but the vast majority of poor people is NOT the one depicted in that type of articles and do not match your description of moochers. they do not enjoy their 'free ride' and really, really try to get out of it.

maxim said...

I personally think that government should provide all the Maslov-first-order necessities (first of all - shelter and basic medcare) free of charge.

A person should always have home, even if it is a 2x4 cell with bed, place to hang some clothes and publicly shared plumbing (with extra 2x1 space for every kid under care).

Also, a person should always have to turn to for health care (including psych).

If a government fails this, then i consider that it is not the citizen who fails his responsibilities, but rather the government. Admittedly, many modern goverments fail on this account. Sadly, that's just the way it is.

Grey area exists when citizens want/need to have better place to live in and better medcare than government is able to provide and are willing to pay for it. Then yeah, if a person stops paying, the "extra" part of service needs to be terminated.

The TV in the photo suggests that what we have here is the second case. Is it really?

Gevlon said...

@maxim: "the government" doesn't have money. Taxpayers have.

Do you mean that I should contribute to the food, housing and health care of complete strangers who give nothing in return?

If your answer is "because he is human and deserve it", please read

maxim said...

Your understanding of socialism is based on a fundamentally wrong premise. You are essentially trying to measure it with capitalist yardsticks and failing.

If i were to put my answer to government-taxpayers situation in a language a capitalist could have any hope of understanding...
Consider taxes as a form of insurance payment that every citizen offers for guaranteed protection against death from unnatural causes. The money you pay insurance company won't necesarrily ever directly benefit you, but they are still money well spent.

And yes, my answer is "she is human and does deserve it". Read these authors:

Anonymous said...

being unable to help everyone is not a very good reason to help nobody at all.
and basic necessitities are similar to human rights.
'oh, i'm not a slave and my friend is also not a slave. why would i be against slavery in general?'

what do i get out of my government helping the poor? the same as has been done with public education:
i don't want to live in a country full of homeless, beggars, junkies and criminals etc etc
(in case of public education: full of stupid people)

so you can either move to a gated community outside of cities etc (and pay the upkeep of that community including guards) or you deal with the problem where you live.

@anon 08:57
i have no idea what makes them tick. but that also applies to many more people. and as stated, i do not know what would be best for the exceptions. but telling him 'stop being poor' doesn't work, as it doesn't work for a sad person to tell him 'stop being sad'.

Anonymous said...

A pic only is a bit misleading. Thanks for the Link tho, have cross read it via google translate.

The poor and indept that I know share somwhat the same perspective on live in a captialistic zombi consumer society. They all are efficient consumers. maxing out their creditcards ... there is someone that called it, George Carlin, he put it better word than I ever could.

consumerism -
followed with "why education sucks" -

beware, it's a American touch for a American audience. Still in essence its true for Germany where I live and the Netherlands where I come from. Its probably true for every other western capitalistic country.

Anonymous said...

@Gevlon: Well you are not right either. Let me put this in your terms: You should contribute taxes to social spenditure because if YOU fall i'll, jobless or homeless it works as an affordable insurance. You are thinking as extreme right wing.

@Maxim: The "government" indeed does not exists. Homes and Weathcare are some of the most expensive things to aquire and maintain in current society. Sure, the goverment could provide those if you paid enough taxes for them. Just bump your taxes to 80% of your salary and you can have your free homes and healthcare. You make your living with 20% of your gains... You are thinking as an extreme left wing.

Current societies try to strike a balance. We need to pay taxes for things that are more efficient for a government to run, usually these are things that can easily be monopolized like roads or that have a high risk of corruption otherwise like justice or police. They are usually things that would benefit all even if they were to be served to just one person. The other things we leave for the free market to take care of delivering the supply to the demand in an efficient way driven by competition.

So the only thing you have to ask yourself is: What am I willing to pay in order for me and all my friends to benefit from this service?
Government tries to ensure fair distribution to all.
Market tries to ensure you get your moneys worth.
So it depends on the service you wish provided.

daniel said...

"Do you mean that I should contribute to the food, housing and health care of complete strangers who give nothing in return?"

they give you the feeling of being superior.

social security (even for those that one might think don't deserve) is there for you as well. hopefully not, but maybe, you might get in need of it one day too.

Jack Napier said...

It is the same here in my third world country, although mostly without welfare. People with odd jobs and little money invade and build their homes in dangerous places, like the slopes of a hill or a flood area. Instead of saving money to move from that place, they buy big tvs, luxury friges, and other expensive non-essentials. When their houses are flooded or a land slide happens, they are seen on tv crying for having lost their homes and possessions. It is sad when a family lose everything, especially if they are hard working people, but they don't pay attention when the civil servants go to their houses and warn them of the dangers of living there. They can't be considered ignorant, so it is stupidity not to try to leave the dangerous area.

Anonymous said...

Ignorance is bliss, and now can some people be righteously enraged at the moochers for having the audacity to have a 200-300$ TV together with a several thousand dollar debt...

Unknown said...

Best Buy in the USA has a 55inch Panasonic LEDA HDTV on sale tomorrow for $199 USD...

Gevlon said...

You know what is the first step for $100000?

The first 1$.

Anonymous said...

I knew a friend of a friend who did this, wasted money on takeaways, shoes, games, TVs. At the time I thought it was irresponsible but recently I heard she died of an epileptic fit in her 30s.

If she taken advice and saved and put money away, it would be for nothing. As it is, she lived her life doing as she felt, had a good time while it lasted by all accounts. Whose the sucker in all this really, obviously not her when I think about it.

maxim said...

What if i consider myself a citizen of my country (and not just of a group of my friends) and country's overall well-being is important to me?

If only because my kids and grandkids will live in it and won't necessarily have me around to help out.

Anonymous said...

@Gevlon "Do you mean that I should contribute to the food, housing and health care of complete strangers who give nothing in return?"

Actually, yes. The problem is that you cannot make these people disappear. You can try to "reform" them, but there will always be "morons & slackers" which you cannot reform. Sure you can dump them on the street and tell them to solve their own problems, but the end result will not be morons magically becoming less morons, it will be criminality, unrest and riots: basically they will solve their own problems degrading the society you are living in.

Most don't want to live in a degraded society and will/cannot isolate themselves in some sort of ivory tower, so the typical strategy is a two-pronged attack:

- Try to reform as many "morons & slackers" as possible: education programs, employment programs... You invest money today so that the moron of today will stop being a moron in the future. In the long term you have hopefully a net gain.
- Try to minimize the social impact of the remaining m&s: housing, meals... basically the "wellfare" package. The existence of this "wellfare" will reduce the "reformed" M&S, but also reduce the damage the "unreformable" M&S would create if dumped on the street and left to their own devices.

TL;DR: Not contributing to the wellfare of M&S would likely end up costing you more in terms of living in a degraded society. Contributing too much would make reforming M&S more difficult.

Gevlon said...

@Anonymous: Africa is full of more poor and less educated people who cause us no problems.

There are no valid ideology that says that they are lesser people than us or our own M&S.

I can't see why can't we treat our own poor as the Africans: place them behind an arbitrary borderline (or place ourselves behind one) and let them be on their side.

Anonymous said...

@Gevlon, "I can't see why can't we treat our own poor as the Africans: place them behind an arbitrary borderline (or place ourselves behind one) and let them be on their side."

First of all, it's not true that the situation in Africa doesn't affect us: the degraded situation in Africa pushes a lot of people from Africa to try to reach Europe and many manage to enter either legally or illegaly.

The solution you propose is the "ivory tower" I was talking about in my first post: but to work the ivory tower needs to be unreachable and impervious to what is outside of it and today it's not the case.

Since the tower is not impenetrable what is outside of it will affect what is inside, like a degraded quartier in a city affects even the rest of the city, or Africa affects Europe, or your neighbour's garden affects you if he dumps his stinking garbage on it.

You can make the ivory tower more impervious if you are willing to sink the ships coming from Africa full of people fleeing from war and famine, wall and mine all your borders and banish all whose you decide are M&S outside of the tower (like they tried to do with some colonies). All of these solutions were tried in the past and I'm not exactly impressed with the long-term results.

Even if you want to go with the ivory tower, "helping the stranger" is likely to be part of it if you want the most cost-effective solution:

- The differential in "degradation" between the inside and outside of the tower create a "pressure": the more the differential the more people will want to enter. To reduce this pressure you can reduce your standard inside or increase the standard outside (and you likely don't want to reduce your standard inside).
- The more the pressure from outside, the more you have to make the wall of the tower impervious. This is expensive and in some cases only doable in ways the western world decided to reject.

So again you have to find a balance.

Yaggle said...

I don't really have a problem with her having a television nor do I have a problem with her being thrown out. She wanted to watch television until she got thrown out. I assume she made those choices because she wanted to. Yes I think deep down, this is the life she wanted.

lowrads said...

I'm as libertarian as they come. Yes, the world is full of problems, but not every solution is acceptable. I have an easy litmus test for evaluating movements, laws or programmes for addressing invidious social problems: If it treats people as a means to an ends, rather than as an ends in themselves, then reject it. That Kantian observation is the underlying problem of the ideology of all the horrifying utopian movements of the twentieth century.

That said, charitableness is important. Not tithing at governmental gunpoint, but real charitableness. None of us grows up without at least some charity. None of us really gets to pay our most fundamental debts to our families, only pass the credit onto the next generation. The ancient problem of corruption and patronage arises from this, but you still have to have charitas to have civilization.

Prof. Hans Rosling makes an excellent case for helping the poorest people in the world though. Helping people bump themselves up from the $1 a day income bracket closer to the $10 a day bracket has a massive positive impact on stabilizing world population numbers, and impacts total resource demand negligibly.

Personal responsibility surely must be less about deploring those who fail to live up to society's presumed standards, and more about tilting at those windmills that dot our shared horizons. Probably the only way to dampen the shrillness of those who demand absurdities is to hold up those organizations which do necessary things like putting bicycles, sanitary water or agricultural education within the financial reach of the desperately poor.