The actions that governments should not be involved are legion. Today I am only going to discuss one of them. The way governments treats the destitute.
This article goes into detail about many of the most common ways local governments and businesses approach the homeless and destitute.
What is the danger in how government treats the homeless and destitute?
The danger is that larger and larger numbers of humanity may well be joining the homeless and destitute. I have covered many articles and my own projections of how AI or codops (computerized doppelgangers – or computer copies of human beings) will employment. Even conservative estimates in the single digits as to the numbers of people to be unemployed in the future are cause for concern – because 7% of the labor force would effectively more than double the number of unemployed people in the United States of America.
Homeless people are demonized in the United States of America – treated as less than human – not having rights to their personal belongings and chased from municipality to municipality in search of a safe place to stay for the night.
I know people in general do not feel they will ever be homeless; however, it is a reality that must increasingly be watched as automation, AI, and codop technologies become realities. The problem is that we don’t treat the homeless the way we would want to be treated if we were homeless.
This is critical to concepts like UBI (Universal Basic Income). This is not unemployment. This is a source of income not tied to work – because the amount of work left for humans to do will be limited by automation, AI, and robotics.
Given the vocal opposition to unemployment, medical benefits, and any income redistribution methods by major segments of the population and particularly vocal members of the Republican party it seems unlikely that UBI will become a part of our society.
Overall, it appears that our society lacks a certain empathy with people who have lost their economic power. It is ironic, that also in our society most families live only a few steps away from financial disaster.
So, what brought this about? Why did I write this article?
This article in particular disturbed me.
- A woman gets caught begging in Bath. Gets let off.
- She gets caught begging again in Bath violating parole.
- She gets sentenced to 12 weeks in prison, pay a fine of £115, and had to take part in a rehabilitation activity requirement.
It is hard to know where to begin with the lack of basic empathy or understanding for an individuals motives or the institutionalization of prosecution of the poor.
Perhaps that is what many of us have to look forward to – prosecution for being poor.
It seems unlikely that prison time will cure the problem causing the begging.
It is even less likely that she will be able to pay the £115 fine. What exactly are the penalties for not paying the fine? Fees? This community service/rehabilitation activity requirement – how does she get there? Does she get provided food while doing this service?
In Six Sigma there is a lot of exploration of root causes of problems in processes. Using Ishikawa/Fishbone diagrams to figure out the root causes of issues. It seems clear that even with a marginal amount of intelligence, empathy, and exploratory reasoning that the root cause of her begging can be determined.
At present, there are probably many jobs that go unfilled in Bath and vacant residences that could provide shelter. With an adviser to provide a connection between the homeless person, employer, shelter and to ensure they have enough food and necessities – this “detriment” to society could be converted to an asset.
In the future; however, jobs may become much more scarce. Government and society may well be as intolerant (or more) the more common homelessness becomes. How will the future turn out with large numbers of homeless people?