Sunday, 2 December 2007

Welfare reform

What causes poverty?

According to the Spectator, William Galston identified three steps to escaping pverty:

  1. finish school
  2. marry before having children
  3. avoid teenage pregnancy
Among those that did all three, only 8% were poor.

Of those that did none, 79% were poor.

"What counts is people's own life choices and behaviour."

Too right. Throwing money at people will not end poverty. We can do one of two things:

  • We can accept that some people will never change their behaviour, and thus will always be poor, and there is nothing that we can do about it, except give them enough welfare to allow them a comfortable subsistence level of consumption, or
  • We can accept that the only way to end poverty is to force people to change their behaviour, and they will lift themselves up of their own accord.
Unfortunately, we seem to be stuck in some wishy-washy in between situation where we can't accept that some percentage of the population will always be losers, no matter what, and where some people think that behaviour modification is nasty medicine, and should not be used.

Me - I'd just sift everyone on welfare into one of two categories; the completely fucked and the salvageable. The CF's would be parked somewhere out on the fringe where they could idly waste their life away without bothering anyone else, and the salvageable would be put through boot camp and have the blow torch applied to drive self improvement.

There is no point in applying the blowtorch to the CF's - it's a waste of your time and it just annoys them. There's also no point in leaving the salvageable to wallow around in a sink of self pity - they need a good boot in the arse and a bit of a helping hand and they'll take it from there.

Politically impossible of course, but it explains why welfare as we know it will never end poverty. And neither will more money.

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