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Old 08-31-2004, 05:08 AM
SentientMeat SentientMeat is offline
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Political Compass #34: Society should not support those who refuse to work.

Many political debates here have included references to The Political Compass, which uses a set of 61 questions to assess one’s political orientation in terms of economic left/right and social libertarianism/authoritarianism (rather like the “Libertarian diamond” popular in the US).

And so, every so often I will begin a thread in which the premise for debate is one of the 61 questions. I will give which answer I chose and provide my justification and reasoning. Others are, of course, invited to do the same including those who wish to “question the question”, as it were.

It would also be useful when posting in these threads to give your own “compass reading” in your first post, by convention giving the Economic value first. My own is
SentientMeat: Economic: -5.12, Social: -7.28, and so by the above convention my co-ordinates are (-5.12, -7.28). Please also indicate which option you ticked. I might suggest what I think is the “weighting” given to the various answers in terms of calculating the final orientation, but seeing for yourself what kind of answers are given by those with a certain score might be more useful than second-guessing the test’s scoring system.

Now, I appreciate that there is often dissent regarding whether the assessment the test provides is valid, notably by US conservative posters, either because it is “left-biased” (??) or because some propositions are clearly slanted, ambiguous or self-contradictory. The site itself provides answers to these and other Frequently Asked Questions, and there is also a separate thread: Does The Political Compass give an accurate reading? Read these first and then, if you have an objection to the test in general, please post it there. If your objection is solely to the proposition in hand, post here. If your objection is to other propositions, please wait until I open a thread on them. (And for heaven’s sake, please don’t quote this entire Opening Post when replying like this sufferer of bandwidth diarrhea.)

The above will be pasted in every new thread in order to introduce it properly, and I’ll try to let each one exhaust itself of useful input before starting the next. Without wanting to “hog the idea”, I would be grateful if others could refrain from starting similar threads. To date, the threads are:
Does The Political Compass give an accurate reading?
Political Compass #1: Globalisation, Humanity and OmniCorp.
#2: My country, right or wrong
#3: Pride in one’s country is foolish.
#4: Superior racial qualities.
#5: My enemy's enemy is my friend.
#6: Justifying illegal military action.
#7: “Info-tainment” is a worrying trend.
#8: Class division vs. international division. (+ SentientMeat’s economic worldview)
#9: Inflation vs. unemployment.
#10: Corporate respect of the environment.
#11: From each according to his ability, to each according to need.
#12: Sad reflections in branded drinking water.
#13: Land should not be bought and sold.
#14: Many personal fortunes contribute nothing to society.
#15: Protectionism is sometimes necessary in trade.
#16: Shareholder profit is a company's only responsibility.
#17: The rich are too highly taxed.
#18: Better healthcare for those who can pay for it.
#19: Penalising businesses which mislead the public.
#20: The freer the market, the freer the people.
#21: Abortion should be illegal.
#22: All authority must be questioned.
#23: An eye for an eye.
#24: Taxpayers should not prop up theatres or museums.
#25: Schools shouldn’t make attendance compulsory.
#26: Different kinds of people should keep to their own.
#27: Good parents sometimes have to spank their children.
#28: It’s natural for children to keep secrets.
#29: Marijuana should be legalised.
#30: School’s prime function is equipping kids to find jobs.
#31: Seriously disabled people should not reproduce.
#32: Learning discipline is the most important thing.
#33: ‘Savage peoples’ vs. ‘different culture’



Proposition #34: Those who are able to work, and refuse the opportunity, should not expect society's support.

SentientMeat (-5.12, -7.28) ticks Disagree.

Throughout this series of threads, the economic debates have usually had US conservatives on one side and Europeans and US ‘leftists’ on the other. This is a proposition in which I must admit I sit rather leftwards even by European standards, which puts me way, way in the far left distance US-wise, so I expect to be pretty much on my own here in a sea of Strongly Agrees.

“Why the hell should the tax on my hard work support someone who refuses to work?” comes the entirely reasonable question. My answer, essentially, is that so long as that support is minimal, temporary and subject to conditions, then since non-zero unemployment is economically desirable, why not load the misery of unemployment only onto those who are prepared to live frugally without a job, thus easing the pressure on those poor sods who desperately want a job but can’t find one?

Now, one has to be pretty damned frugal when one does not to have a job even in Europe, where unemployment benefit is relatively generous. Housing benefit only allows the rent of the absolute crappiest rooms in the very cheapest areas - in some cities not even that. The additional allowance for food, bills, transport etc. really does not allow for much more than a poverty-line existence. Meeting friends for a meal, drink or evening’s entertainment is pretty much out of the question; a few beers from the off-license, a take-away or a rented video might be more realistic, but even then only very occasionally.

Nevertheless, it is entirely possible for a small minority of people to be happy living so - indeed I’ve done it myself. Reading and studying in libraries, cycling to interesting places, composing music, practising sports, writing creatively - what more does a person really need for a fulfilling life? Not much, said I, and yet even I took the first job I was offered, because I am just like almost everyone else: I am not willing to be so desperately poor if the option of employment is available.
(Incidentally, were it not for unemployment benefit some of Britain’s recent musical, cultural or creative blooms would likely never have blossomed - JK Rowling says she could never have written Harry Potter if she’d been forced to find a job, for example.)

Let us begin from this position: If unemployment is too low (less than around 4% is generally considered a little on the low side), there is not enough competition for jobs. Such increased “indispensability” makes the labour market overpriced and too inflexible. Unemployment is to some extent a necessary evil.

So what of these unemployed people? Let us first consider them all furiously competing for the lowliest of positions, expending Herculean effort in improving their CV/resume and arranging interview after interview all day, every day. Result: The best qualified, most able, most motivated of the unemployed get the jobs, and the losers miss out even though they put in just as much effort. Then let us consider an alternative situation: some of the unemployed compete furiously because they really desire a job, and some don’t try. Result? The best qualified, most able, most motivated of the unemployed still get the jobs, and the losers still miss out. There is still competition for jobs - some merely throw in the towel instantly - but there appears much less frustration, dissatisfaction and despair in the second scenario.

So, these non-workers can be characterised as lazy thieves of everyone else’s money, or saints who sacrifice “their” jobs for other people more in need of one and willingly endure the consequent poverty. How can we ensure that unemployment remains a choice only for a tiny minority of people? Well, there’s the frugality, of course - as I’ve said, even the least materialistic person gets fed up with budgeting for a loaf of bread eventually. But there are other disincentives, which fortunately also act as fraud-busters preventing people with cash-in-hand jobs claiming such benefits. Regular checks and forced appointments, eg. short-notice mandates to appear at the local library, can easily be met by the non-fraudulent and do not intrude too much into the schedule of even the ultra-keen unemployed who fill their days with interviews and job searches. After, say, a year of unemployment, a spell of mandatory work experience might be useful just so that one does not forget what ‘routine’ feels like. Better still, perhaps a single job (necessarily an unskilled government job, I would think) could be forcibly shared out between several people - even a single 8 hour day on minimum wage is comparable to weekly unemployment benefit. (Incidentally, scale this up and everyone might live comfortably whilst having more time off : efficient, greedy workaholics unfortunately appear to stymie this idea from the get go.)

This is the minimal, temporary and conditional support I advocate (which, of course, I benefited from when I was unemployed). If, after all such incentives to get a job and disincentives to stay in bed, some people are happy to just enjoy their simple, frugal existence on this wondrous and improbable life-filled rock in preference to leaving retirement until one is almost dead (what’s the point of saving all your days off until you have trouble walking anywhere?), I will not advocate its withdrawal. The simple fact is that unemployment benefit is already so meagre that any further reduction aimed at squeezing those already-frugal voluntarily-unemployed into not refusing work would impact the reluctantly unemployed yet more negatively (and perhaps even make crime a more attractive option).

Should refusing work ever be supported, no matter how far into the future we progress? (I have visions of energetically self-sufficient houses, wonder-foods and already-paid-for-in-full communications infrastructure such that work became a gradually more voluntary affair in essence, and still the greedy and workaholic refusing to shift their paradigm.) It seems that so long as unemployment is non-zero even for the willing, removing support for the unwilling will only make them pretend to be willing. Better, I say, if they were to pretend to compete for jobs with those who genuinely wanted one, and then gallantly concede victory.
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  #2  
Old 08-31-2004, 05:47 AM
Blalron Blalron is offline
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Strongly Disagree

This discussing makes me think of the homeless in our society. I believe we could easily eliminate this problem if we simply gave all the homeless cheap apartments to live in, some clean clothes to wear, and three square meals a day. Nothing fancy, if they want any luxories they'll have to work for it. But give them the bare essentials at least.

It'd be cheaper than throwing them in jail for vagrancy, and we wouldn't have to see them sleep on park benches anymore.

If we stopped screaming at them to get a job (like someone in filthy clothes and without a home can easily get one!) and put a roof over their heads, society would probably be better off and more of them would end up becoming productive in the long run. I think that (paradoxically) the derision we heap on them for their joblessness is what keeps many of them from getting a job.
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Old 08-31-2004, 06:48 AM
RickJay RickJay is online now
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Disagree. I think my score was something like 0.75, -5.

While it would be awfully convenient to load the "misery of unemployment" onto those who choose to take it, the simple fact is that there will ALWAYS be people who need these benefits who don't want to be unemployed, and paying such benefits to those who choose not to work means less money for those who want to work but cannot find employment (or, indirectly, less money for everyone who pays for it in taxes.) It also means less money for programs for people to get employable - for instance, less money to put into student grants and loans.

Quote:
The simple fact is that unemployment benefit is already so meagre that any further reduction aimed at squeezing those already-frugal voluntarily-unemployed into not refusing work would impact the reluctantly unemployed yet more negatively (and perhaps even make crime a more attractive option).
I don't see why the proposition necessitates this assumption. The proposition was that those who choose not to work don't get benefits, not that we reduce all benefits to prod SOME people into working.

I guess it depends where you live, but here, the level of attention paid to whether you're seeking work or not is basically nonexistent; even the most cursory investigation would easily reveal those who are mooching without having to drive away to "reluctantly unemployed." And some do mooch, and I've known them.

Now, I am distinguishing UNEMPLOYMENT from WELFARE, which, at least here, is a completely different concept.
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Old 08-31-2004, 06:49 AM
RickJay RickJay is online now
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Whoops!

I meant to "Agree."
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  #5  
Old 08-31-2004, 07:27 AM
BobLibDem BobLibDem is online now
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Strongly disagree. We cannot as a society sit back and watch as others starve. The very minimal necessities for human existence must be provided by society regardless of the person's desire to work. If you want more than that as an individual, and nearly everybody does, then it is up to you to earn it.
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Old 08-31-2004, 07:44 AM
SentientMeat SentientMeat is offline
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RickJay, I think we are in agreement that there will always be unemployed people. Realistically however, the problem with proposing a policy dividing them into 'voluntarily' and 'reluctantly' unemployed is that as soon as you start treating them differently, the voluntarily unemployed magically disappear to be replaced by thousands more apparently reluctantly unemployed people: that disincentive for honesty thus necessitates yet more burdensome investigation and bureaucracy in order to distinguish the two types.

If we agree that unemployment is a necessary evil, the question is what society does with them, realistically.
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Old 08-31-2004, 08:57 AM
Pyrrhonist Pyrrhonist is offline
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Strongly Agree. (0.25 -2.??)

I call folk who can work but don’t want to deadbeats. If they’re willing to starve themselves to death to avoid work, so be it. No big loss. However, I’d have to wonder at the psychological stability of such a person refuses to work to such a degree.


Quote:
Originally Posted by SentientMeat
(Incidentally, were it not for unemployment benefit some of Britain’s recent musical, cultural or creative blooms would likely never have blossomed - JK Rowling says she could never have written Harry Potter if she’d been forced to find a job, for example.)
Ah, so does this mean we need unemployment benefits to tide over struggling “artists” until they make the Big Time? Forgive me if that isn’t what you meant.

There is no evidence across the pond, that I’ve seen, of a European cultural or creative bloom. There are tons of dross and a rare talent here and there, same as America. An artist with the burning need to create—whether writing, composing, or painting—will do so with or without Government checks. Who needs the hacks?

Despite the phenomenal success of Rowling, I don’t think her case, if as true as you say, could justify Government support.


Quote:
Originally Posted by BobLibDem
We cannot as a society sit back and watch as others starve. The very minimal necessities for human existence must be provided by society regardless of the person's desire to work.
What would you call the very minimal necessities?

In 2000, a Green Party Web Site offered such a bonanza of Government Give-Aways on the ticket, I thought, yeah, I could live off that. Sell my McMansion and buy outright a little place in the middle of nowhere, then let the Government pay for all the other little essentials. Good clean and simplified living, retired at 40. Maybe try my hand at the Great American Novel.
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Old 08-31-2004, 09:19 AM
SentientMeat SentientMeat is offline
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Quote:
so does this mean we need unemployment benefits to tide over struggling “artists” until they make the Big Time?
No, I propose that we need unemployment benefits to provide some minimium level of existence for those without a job in our respective wealthy democracies. What they do with their day, be it walking the streets desperately seeking even the lowliest paid position or writing bad fiction, doesn't concern me overmuch: the former will (eventually) get the job and the increased income, the latter must live exceptionally frugally.
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Old 08-31-2004, 09:48 AM
Mangetout Mangetout is offline
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-4.75, -3.38 Disagree

At the same time as I wouldn't like to promote slacking, I do think that it's interesting and sometimes productive to have a few people about the place who choose not to work; providing minimal support is possible (like essential healthcare, for example), without pampering them to the point where it becomes universally attractive to avoid employment.

Also, providing for those who don't necessarily deserve it is the mark of a society that tends towards care and compassion, rather than towards strict enforcement of regime; I'd rather live in a slightly inefficient world, if it comes hand in hand with a little leeway for those who don't quite fit in.
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Old 08-31-2004, 09:51 AM
John Mace John Mace is online now
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Another somewhat tricksy* question.

Note that it says "society" and yet everyone immediately thinks "government".

Still I (7/-3) would say Agree, especially if we take "society" to be "government". "Refuses" is awfully strong language. There might be some mentally ill folks whose refusal is based on not understanding reality. But somone who is able to work, and yet "refuses" to do so will NEVER get off the dole. Never. It would seem that the only way to turn the refusal into acceptance would be to withold support.

I also base my answer on the belief that there are very, very people in this category. I think it is a mistake to make government policy (or societal policy) based on extreme situations. Kind of like basing your moralty on situations that would only occur in a lifeboat adrift at sea.

*as Golllum would say.
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Old 08-31-2004, 09:53 AM
John Mace John Mace is online now
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Oops. Should've been "very, very few people" in the first sentence of the last paragraph.
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Old 08-31-2004, 10:32 AM
scule scule is offline
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-4.62, -5.28

I have to say a tentative agree, for pretty much the same reasons as John Mace put in. It does say refuse, which is pretty direct. I have lived around and known many individuals who were lifetime welfare recipients for no better reason than because they were lazy, selfish and ignorant. It bothered me immensely to see them buying cases of beer and ordering pizzas on the 1st of the month, then begging for money by the 15th. I despise these people and cannot support them in any way.

I can understand quite easily how difficult it can be to end up unemployed, for whatever reason. However, the second you lose your job you should be looking for a new one, and taking whatever is offered. I will support a single mother, because the child comes first, and she needs to be there to support it, but if you have no reason beyond laziness or a lack of will, tough shit. Get off your ass and get a job, and if you want to write, or paint, or whatever, do it after work.

This is all conditional on a refusal to work, rather than a loss of a job or some situation that prevents a person from working. As well, SentientMeat makes some good points: the stipend provided should be just barely enough to keep someone alive, thus hopefully giving them the incentive to get off their ass and work.
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Old 08-31-2004, 10:54 AM
BobLibDem BobLibDem is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pyrrhonist
What would you call the very minimal necessities?
Very little. A cot in a shelter, clothes on the back, and whatever food that the shelter happens to have on hand that day.
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Old 08-31-2004, 11:11 AM
John Mace John Mace is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BobLibDem
Very little. A cot in a shelter, clothes on the back, and whatever food that the shelter happens to have on hand that day.
No medical care? No dental check-ups? No counceling? No showers or clothes washing facilities? No haircuts or shaving items?
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Old 08-31-2004, 11:22 AM
DrDeth DrDeth is offline
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They won't and currently DON"T "starve" if the Governement and us Taxpaters refuses to pick up the tab. Nor as they brave soldiers making the sacrifice of not having a job so that others can. When the government dole is cut off, they do not go out and get a job.

I have worked with the hard-core homeless. They won't "work" (at a "job"), and they don't starve- well, except maybe those who are crazy and die of some odd dietary deficiency.

Besides us taxpayers- there are other, voluntary sources of handouts. Many Churchs- including the Catholic Church- have programs to feed the homeless, and there are 'soup kitchens", etc.

The "hardcore" homeless also beg (rather lucrative) perform odd jobs, perform acts of minor crime, and scavange for things like aluminum cans. In this last, they perform a service to the community. Sometimes they dig food out, too.

If the Government cuts off aid (which by-and-large they have, except to Single mothers), these men won't starve- I know becuase they aren't starving now, and have not starved.

Most won't stay in Shelters (many of which are provided by Non-governmental agencies) because they also don't want to follow the rules there- no drugs, smoking, drinking, and some small degree of personal cleanliness. Sometimes they come in- after much grumbling- when the weather is VERY bad.

Note that the question does say "Society" rather than "Government". However, I think that Society with a cap S usually means Government but at all levels. I have no objection at all for someone else speding their money on the hard-core homeless- in fact it's be wrong to try and stop it. What I do object to is being forced to support such characters through my taxes.
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Old 08-31-2004, 11:27 AM
BobLibDem BobLibDem is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Mace
No medical care? No dental check-ups? No counceling? No showers or clothes washing facilities? No haircuts or shaving items?
My oversight- I forgot these.
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Old 08-31-2004, 11:35 AM
Leonard Leonard is offline
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Strongly agree. (I think my scores were about +2,-5 the last time I took it)

I'm curious how anyone can support restrictions/time limits on welfare and disagree with this statement. I would say the entire purpose of restrictions/time limits is to eliminate those who refuse to work despite being able. I can't really imagine any restrictions that wouldn't eliminate them (except for nonsensical ones).

So for those of you that disagree, do you support totally unrestricted benefits? If not, what restrictions do you support and how will they not eliminate those who are simply refusing to work?
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Old 08-31-2004, 11:56 AM
Lamia Lamia is offline
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I Agree, although this is at least partially because of the word "expect", something other posters don't seem to have focused on.

If the statement were "Those who are able to work, and refuse the opportunity, should not receive society's support" I might have gone with Disagree. But it does say "expect", and I think if you actually refuse to work then you don't have any business expecting handouts from society. (I'm taking "society" to mean strangers, private charities, or the government, not family or friends.) I like to think I'd help a starving man to get some food even if I knew he'd refused the opportunity to earn an honest living for himself, but I don't see how he'd have the right to expect this of me unless we shared some kind of personal relationship. Hope, yes. Expect, no. If I chose to help it would be just that, a choice.

What kept me from Strongly Agree was some concern over what might be considered "refusing an opportunity". What if you're a devout Hindu and the only job opening is cow-killer in a slaughterhouse? A more common problem might be single parents who need working hours short/flexible enough to allow them to care for their children. I wouldn't consider it a real "opportunity" if the job offered would require someone to violate deeply held moral beliefs or abandon family responsibilities.
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Old 08-31-2004, 11:56 AM
XT XT is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SentientMeat
Proposition #34: Those who are able to work, and refuse the opportunity, should not expect society's support.
Another question thats difficult to just answer, as there are tons of qualifiers (at least from me). Should those able to work but refuse too get support from the 'society'? Depends on what 'society' encompasses for myself. Should the GOVERNMENT support them at the expense of our taxes? No. Does this preclude private charities from helping out such people? No.

However, forced to simply answer the question I'd have to say I agree...that such people, able to work but refusing too, should not EXPECT 'society's' support.

-XT
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Old 08-31-2004, 12:03 PM
tisiphone tisiphone is offline
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[QUOTE=DrDeth]
Most won't stay in Shelters (many of which are provided by Non-governmental agencies) because they also don't want to follow the rules there- no drugs, smoking, drinking, and some small degree of personal cleanliness. Sometimes they come in- after much grumbling- when the weather is VERY bad.
[QUOTE]

I'm given to understand by many news-type articles that a good many of the shelters are percieved as dangerous. Seems that a high rate of assaults, extortion, and theft go along with the shelters.

I don't know for sure, never having been in one, but I got no problem believing that an underfunded program would have trouble hiring enough qualified staff (you know, trained in social work/psychology/security, dedicated to ensuring that the shelter is a safe, secure environment - which comes out to people worth more than 8-10$hr) to prevent such occurences. And from what I read, most of these programs are underfunded.

I'm also given to understand that more than a few shelters have rules about how many times you can sleep there in a given time slot (X times a week, Y times a month, etc...). And apparently, some sheltering associations Don't Get It, and harague those that come in about 'clean up, get a job, get a real life, you loser' (as opposed to shelters that help you find available resouces) which doesn't exactly make for even a tolerable atmosphere.

Dunno. It's not much of an issue up here, we don't have more homeless than Maryhouse and St. Joseph's can accommodate, and it doesn't tend to be long term. Mostly because they migrate to warmer climes, I guess. Couch surfing is popular, and we do have issues with young people afraid to go home and trying to sleep in the lobby of apartment buildings and whatnot, but nothing on the scale of say, Vancouver or Toronto.
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Old 08-31-2004, 12:35 PM
Greenback Greenback is offline
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Agree

(1.75, -2.36)

If the statement gave any indication that the support was indeed temporary, I would have disagreed. But the statement reads "Those who are able to work, and refuse the opportunity, should not expect society's support". It seems to me that we are dealing with a very specific group of people: People who are able to work and decide that they would rather not. This has nothing to do with mentally ill folks whose concept of reality renders them unable to integrate with the rest of society.

I think that everyone should be entitled to a certain standard of living that, as meagre as it would be, provides a place to sleep and nutritious meals*. However, I think that this should be given on the condition that one provides a service in exchange. This could be anything from digging ditches to working at the local library to data entry. These benefits would not be given to a member of society but, upon applying and being approved to receive these benefits, the member of society becomes an employee of the government.


*On Preview: John Mace offered more items to be provided.
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Old 08-31-2004, 01:53 PM
John Mace John Mace is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lamia
I Agree, although this is at least partially because of the word "expect", something other posters don't seem to have focused on.
Very good point. I usually try to make sure I don't confuse the thread title with the actual proposition and I did this time (as I think most people also did).

I change from Agree to Strongly Agree. I find it repulsive to think that someone could refuse to work and then expect to be supported by society.

I strongly encourage everyone to read the proposition carefully and see if you still disagree with it. I don't see how anyone could.
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Old 09-01-2004, 04:46 AM
SentientMeat SentientMeat is offline
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I still disagree, John - I try to mirror the propositions in the thread titles as closely as possible but there just isn’t space for every single word.

I feel that a citizen of a wealthy democracy can reasonably expect support when unemployed (especially if that society has somehow contrived to keep unemployment a necessary evil) and that, given that unemployment is non-zero even for the willing, refusing those jobs that others snap up instantly is a valid choice (not that I’d make that choice, frugality-averse as I am).

I’ll vote for allowing a little dolce far niente in preference to ruthless efficiency in the same way that I accept my taxes being spent on other things I feel are undeserving, such as military, protectionist or road-construction spending, to say nothing of my being “forced” to fund the prevention of crimes I might not consider crimes, let alone ever be a victim of.

I am essentially unconvinced by a property-rights-uber alles-approach, which I consider to be a form of tyranny in itself. I find expectation of support from society no more or less distasteful than the expectation that I obey society’s democratically decided law.
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Old 09-01-2004, 04:59 AM
Mangetout Mangetout is offline
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What SentientMeat just said.

If the choice is between a ruthlessly efficient society that (either actively, by conscription, ir passively, by absolute refusal of even the most basic support) forces people to work (and indeed, in this case, defines the meaning of the word 'work'), or a society that tolerates a little inefficiency and makes a few allowances, I'd prefer the latter.

In reality, of course, the choice is seldom if ever so polarised.
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Old 09-01-2004, 06:20 AM
Odesio Odesio is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SentientMeat
Proposition #34: Those who are able to work, and refuse the opportunity, should not expect society's support.
Economic: 3.62
Social Libertarian: -2.05

Strongly agree. No adult has the right to live off the effort of others and we should not support such parasites.

Quote:
It seems that so long as unemployment is non-zero even for the willing, removing support for the unwilling will only make them pretend to be willing.
Man must make bread by the sweat of his brow. If someone wants to eat, have a place to sleep, and clothing on their back bad enough then they're willing to work for it. They might not like it but they're willing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Blalron
This discussing makes me think of the homeless in our society. I believe we could easily eliminate this problem if we simply gave all the homeless cheap apartments to live in, some clean clothes to wear, and three square meals a day.
Would it really solve the homeless problem? I only ask because I was under the impression that most of the permanent homeless in this country suffer from severe mental problems and or drug and alcohol abuse. Are homeless shelters normally filled to capacity? Where would you propose we put these ghettos?

Quote:
Originally Posted by BobLibDem
Strongly disagree. We cannot as a society sit back and watch as others starve.
If someone of sound mind and body chooses to starve themselves who are we to stop them?

Marc
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  #26  
Old 09-01-2004, 06:31 AM
SentientMeat SentientMeat is offline
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Quote:
Man must make bread by the sweat of his brow.
Eww. Sandwich, anyone?
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  #27  
Old 09-01-2004, 12:45 PM
John Mace John Mace is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SentientMeat
I still disagree, John - I try to mirror the propositions in the thread titles as closely as possible but there just isn’t space for every single word.
But at what point WOULD you be willing to draw the line? Should the fellow in question EXPECT to be supported by society if he refuses to work EVER? I'm not asking if society should support this guy, I'm asking if he should expect to be supported.
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  #28  
Old 09-02-2004, 03:24 AM
SentientMeat SentientMeat is offline
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Quote:
But at what point WOULD you be willing to draw the line?
I believe I addressed that in the OP: Minimal, temporary (say, a year at a time) and conditional support is what I would advocate that he could reasonably expect.
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  #29  
Old 09-02-2004, 06:41 AM
EsotericEnigma EsotericEnigma is offline
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Strongly agree.

Supporting people who decide not to work is a job for charity, not government.
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  #30  
Old 09-02-2004, 11:12 AM
JohnBckWLD JohnBckWLD is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BobLibDem
...We cannot as a society sit back and watch as others starve. The very minimal necessities for human existence must be provided by society regardless of the person's desire to work....
That's an interesting spin on who's actually doing the "sitting back".
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  #31  
Old 09-05-2004, 10:24 AM
ParentalAdvisory ParentalAdvisory is offline
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I'm in the middle (I don't know much about the political compass, can I be in the middle?) 0.00, -0.00 ?

Quote:
Those who are able to work, and refuse the opportunity, should not expect society's support.
I have no problem with supporting someone who has just lost their job and is desperately seeking work, but only temporary. After that, you mind as well take what you can get, just to get by. People will always be out of work at times. The ones I take issue with are the scumbags who are perfectly healthy and expect welfare. I'm sorry, but you need to get off your ass and get a damn job. Actually, I'm not sorry. I'm not your mother, feed yourself.
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  #32  
Old 09-06-2004, 11:51 PM
Blalron Blalron is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MGibson
Man must make bread by the sweat of his brow. If someone wants to eat, have a place to sleep, and clothing on their back bad enough then they're willing to work for it. They might not like it but they're willing.
I honestly hope that one day machines will be able to take care of all the necesities of life. Let's face it, work sucks. I've been working nearly 12 hour days recently, and I ironically have a certain level of respect for people who refuse to work. Doing mindless bullshit for most of your waking hours, it's almost a tossup for me whether I'd rather live on the streets. Seriously. Next time I see a homeless guy I'll toss him a sawbuck.
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  #33  
Old 09-07-2004, 12:03 AM
roger thornhill roger thornhill is offline
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Agree, exactly because society should support the individual. Paying those who can work and refuse to is not supporting them.
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  #34  
Old 09-07-2004, 12:56 AM
Blalron Blalron is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by roger thornhill
Agree, exactly because society should support the individual. Paying those who can work and refuse to is not supporting them.
Who says we have to pay them cash? Give them the bare minimum in food and shelter to survive. Only a tiny minority of people who are willing to live a unabomber style existence would be happy with just that. The vast majority who would take such assistance would voluntarily choose to work to get something better. And if some of them don't, so what? They are human beings, with inherent value and dignity regardless of whether they work or not.

We already provide 2 million people with free food, shelter, and even medical care in the United States. Who are these 2 million people? Those who are in incarcerated in our criminal justice system. See, we are already intent to feed and house the misfits, proposing to extend this protection to beyond just our criminals shouldn't be too much of a stretch.
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  #35  
Old 09-10-2004, 12:33 PM
Debaser Debaser is offline
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Quote:
Proposition #34: Those who are able to work, and refuse the opportunity, should not expect society's support.
Strongly agree

It boggles the mind that anyone could not strongly agree with the statement when it is worded so clearly. They are able to work. They refuse. They expect society's support.
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  #36  
Old 09-10-2004, 01:12 PM
Rune Rune is offline
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Strongly agree (7.15, -1.15)

Quote:
Proposition #34: Those who are able to work, and refuse the opportunity, should not expect society's support.
No they should not if that support is obtained by taxation or other means of coercion.

I find it a good idea to substitute “I” or “you” for the more anonymous “society” in these kinds of questions, since that’s what it boils down to in the end. So “Should I have to be forced to pay for those who can’t be bothered to pay for themselves?” Fuck no! I work so I can support my family not because I think it’s sunshine and happy days. Work is time that I’d rather have spend on other things, like family and hobbies or SDMB. What kind of arrogant bastard think his life and his time is worth more than mine, that I should be forced to spend my time to support his leisure hobbies?
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  #37  
Old 09-10-2004, 01:33 PM
John Mace John Mace is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blalron
I honestly hope that one day machines will be able to take care of all the necesities of life. Let's face it, work sucks. I've been working nearly 12 hour days recently, and I ironically have a certain level of respect for people who refuse to work. Doing mindless bullshit for most of your waking hours, it's almost a tossup for me whether I'd rather live on the streets. Seriously. Next time I see a homeless guy I'll toss him a sawbuck.
You paint an interesting dichotomy, but the choice is not between mindless work and homelessness. There are plenty of people out there who genuinely love their work. Perhaps you should consider doing something you enjoy rather than giving up.
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  #38  
Old 09-10-2004, 06:52 PM
Mr2001 Mr2001 is offline
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Agree. (around -3, -5)

I'll happily pay for a safety net to support people who can't work, for whatever reason, or even people who leave work in order to improve their skills or care for a relative. But that's it, a safety net for people whose disabilities, obligations, or misfortunes prevent them from working, not a handout for slackers who would just rather have someone else work in their place.
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  #39  
Old 09-10-2004, 07:52 PM
Blalron Blalron is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MGibson


Man must make bread by the sweat of his brow. If someone wants to eat, have a place to sleep, and clothing on their back bad enough then they're willing to work for it. They might not like it but they're willing.

Marc
Isn't basic human dignity the birthright of everyone? Why should "working for it" have to do with anything?

If you seek more than the bare minimum levels. Better food, better housing, finer clothes, you can be required to work for that. But in a world where we have so much, why should merely surviving have to be a day to day struggle?

I think society would be better off if nobody had to work. Working is something you should do for personal fufilment, not to stay alive.
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  #40  
Old 09-10-2004, 08:04 PM
Blalron Blalron is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Mace
You paint an interesting dichotomy, but the choice is not between mindless work and homelessness. There are plenty of people out there who genuinely love their work. Perhaps you should consider doing something you enjoy rather than giving up.
Fortunately for me this is part of a transition phase to go on and do something that I do like.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rune
No they should not if that support is obtained by taxation or other means of coercion.

I find it a good idea to substitute “I” or “you” for the more anonymous “society” in these kinds of questions, since that’s what it boils down to in the end. So “Should I have to be forced to pay for those who can’t be bothered to pay for themselves?”
In a more enlightened society, people would see the wisdom of allowing work to be for those who are fufilled by it and voluntarily contribute towards sustaining the minority of people who are not fufilled by "work."
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