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  #21  
Old 11.08.2011, 23:02
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Re: Is begging more respectable than accepting social support?

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Self respect? Unlike accepting welfare, which merely entails a trip to the Jobcentre once a fortnight (in the United Kingdom - OMMV), begging gets one out and about, meeting people, participating in the hustle and bustle of daily life, just like other entrepreneurs.
That would imply that all people that beg do not have a job because they are not able to get a job, and I truly think that is not true. It is not disrespectful to ask for help when you need it, of coruse it isn't but then asking money from the job centre because you do need it is not disrespectful either..keeping in mind that you DO need it of course.
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Old 11.08.2011, 23:02
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Re: Is begging more respectable than accepting social support?

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Now, DB, you really ought to look at a career change to political speechwriter or lawyer;
Oi! We're talking about respectable professions here.
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  #23  
Old 11.08.2011, 23:03
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Re: Is begging more respectable than accepting social support?

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Someone in another thread mentioned a conversation she'd had with a well dressed lady who was begging for money because she "liked to keep herself" and "people had the right to refuse to give her money".

She makes a very fair point there: although this probably doesn't really apply in Switzerland, which has a very efficient and fair welfare system, could one argue that, compared to accepting social support, begging is actually a respectable activity?

Beggars actually go out and do something for their money: it is a humiliating and difficult job, occasionally dangerous, with potentially great rewards, but also the potential to come home with nothing but sore feet and damp armpits.

Furthermore, beggars do not rely on the compulsory extortion of money, unlike those who rely upon social support, whose cash is taken from working people whether they like it or not. Anyone can refuse to give spare change to a beggar. One is not entitled, on the other hand, to refuse to pay tax or national insurance contributions.

Might one argue, therefore, that begging is more honourable, more honest and more decent than accepting social support from the state?

Indeed, might one even go so far as to argue that the abolition of welfare, resulting in widespread begging, might actually encourage entrepreneurial spirit?

What do you think?
yes. i think social welfare should be charitable in nature and not a compulsory tax. imo, it makes more sense for the local community to look after the local people in need.
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Old 11.08.2011, 23:05
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Re: Is begging more respectable than accepting social support?

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... gets one out and about, meeting people, participating in the hustle and bustle of daily life, just like other entrepreneurs.
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Like selling the Evening Mail on Corporation Street in the middle of December? Like trying to sell double glazing to angry householders?

Most 'normal' jobs are pretty soul-destroying, but people do them rather than fall back on the state.

Why can't begging be considered a 'normal' job?
But surely the Evening Mail and double glazing salesmen are also enjoying all the pleasures highlighted in your first quote above?
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Old 11.08.2011, 23:05
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Re: Is begging more respectable than accepting social support?

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yes. i think social welfare should be charitable in nature and not a compulsory tax. imo, it makes more sense for the local community to look after the local people in need.
What if the local community don't like their people in need? What happens if Bert the Alcoholic Wife Beater applies for social aid from the people in his local community?

Surely it is better for Bert the Alcoholic Wife Beater to move out on his own and try to earn money from strangers - move to the city to look for work, as it were?
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  #26  
Old 11.08.2011, 23:07
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Re: Is begging more respectable than accepting social support?

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He sells hamburgers, double glazing or newspapers, just like all the other Mr Joe Averages.
I was talking about how Mr Joe Average would do in the begging stakes, when up against buxom blondes and maimed children ...
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  #27  
Old 11.08.2011, 23:07
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Re: Is begging more respectable than accepting social support?

In India begging is a profession, though there is also an underworld exploitation on organized beggars. I knew a blind beggar, a very wise old man, locally respected for his wisdom, who took up his "work" at the same place every day. He put his five children through school and university, had a house, a maid and a cook. India has no social assistance, so it is usually provided by family, at a price of subservience, or in the case of the blind old man, individual courage and inventiveness.

Swiss social services are outstanding, but I'm not sure how much is social consciousness in helping the unfortunate and how much is to keep the needy off the doorsteps of family and society. And from what I have noticed, beggars are dropped a coin more out of guilt than generosity, though I might be wrong.
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Old 11.08.2011, 23:08
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Re: Is begging more respectable than accepting social support?

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But surely the Evening Mail and double glazing salesmen are also enjoying all the pleasures highlighted in your first quote above?
Indeed they are. All jobs have their ups and downs. On a sunny day, selling newspapers or begging could be quite pleasant activities. On a wet, windy day, they might not be.

Some people make their living cleaning sewers, emptying dustbins and slaughtering animals. They can't hate their jobs every minute of the day, even if they are pretty unpleasant by most people's standards.
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Old 11.08.2011, 23:10
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Re: Is begging more respectable than accepting social support?

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I was talking about how Mr Joe Average would do in the begging stakes, when up against buxom blondes and maimed children ...
He'd be useless, just as fat people are useless jockeys and men are useless pole dancers. Not every profession is suitable for every person.
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  #30  
Old 11.08.2011, 23:11
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Re: Is begging more respectable than accepting social support?

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In India begging is a profession, though there is also an underworld exploitation on organized beggars. I knew a blind beggar, a very wise old man, locally respected for his wisdom, who took up his "work" at the same place every day. He put his five children through school and university, had a house, a maid and a cook. India has no social assistance, so it is usually provided by family, at a price of subservience, or in the case of the blind old man, individual courage and inventiveness.

Swiss social services are outstanding, but I'm not sure how much is social consciousness in helping the unfortunate and how much is to keep the needy off the doorsteps of family and society. And from what I have noticed, beggars are dropped a coin more out of guilt than generosity, though I might be wrong.
An excellent post, which really explores the points raised at the top of the thread. Thank you.
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  #31  
Old 11.08.2011, 23:11
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Re: Is begging more respectable than accepting social support?

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He'd be useless, just as fat people are useless jockeys and men are useless pole dancers. Not every profession is suitable for every person.
So, to go back to your opening post, in which you ponder the wisdom of abolishment of the welfare state in favour of begging, these useless people would be fuxxed?
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  #32  
Old 11.08.2011, 23:15
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Re: Is begging more respectable than accepting social support?

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So, to go back to your opening post, in which you ponder the wisdom of abolishment of the welfare state in favour of begging, these useless people would be fuxxed?
Not everybody is useless at everything. Perhaps some people might choose begging over flipping burgers, leaving job opportunities available at McDonalds for those who are no good at begging.

BTW, my posting cap approaches, so I might go very quiet very suddenly. I'm sure you can all carry on without me, though.
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  #33  
Old 11.08.2011, 23:16
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Re: Is begging more respectable than accepting social support?

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So, to go back to your opening post, in which you ponder the wisdom of abolishment of the welfare state in favour of begging, these useless people would be fuxxed?
He's slipped in a bit of doubletalk. Entrepreneurial spirit to replace welfare. But- the money earning act is limited to just asking for money, not providing any sort of service other than whatever charm one might muster up in the asking. It's a guaranteed EF page turner!
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  #34  
Old 11.08.2011, 23:17
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Re: Is begging more respectable than accepting social support?

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BTW, my posting cap approaches, so I might go very quiet very suddenly. I'm sure you can all carry on without me, though.
Posting target, DB, target .
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  #35  
Old 11.08.2011, 23:20
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Re: Is begging more respectable than accepting social support?

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Posting target, DB, target .


By the way, before anyone gets personal (I don't think any of you lot will, but this thread will still be here when the Angry Brigade log on in the morning), I have lived on social security - for a couple of years - and was very grateful for it, but I have never begged for a living.

I was just intrigued and inspired by the attitude of the smart lady in Biff's post, and wondered how this matter could be approached from a more positive angle.
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  #36  
Old 11.08.2011, 23:20
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Re: Is begging more respectable than accepting social support?

I do not give to any form of beggars. There is no clear way to determine the genuinely needy from the con-artists and others who are not deserving.

Many of us have encountered the sob-story of "please spare some cash for a cup of tea", "my wallet has been nicked", "I need some cash for the last train home" etc. I believe that most of these are a scam.

Some beggars are parts of organised gangs, forced into handing over their collections to their criminal masters. This has been reported on in Switzerland as an increasing problem due to the higher proportion of wealthy people in the cities.

In the UK, I support charities that help the homeless and others in genuine need. e.g. The Big Issue, Shelter.
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  #37  
Old 11.08.2011, 23:21
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Re: Is begging more respectable than accepting social support?

I think that, depending upon where ones sense of "self worth" is defined, begging could be more respectable - to them.

I went asking for help from the government this spring and was told that I'd waited too long after my arrival for help finding a job. I was pointed in a direction for someone to ask further for help, in hopes to find someone to help / to pay the costs of language classes for me. To ME this is a demeaning experience, to have to explain to someone why I didn't seek a job before, why I don't just save up the "spare" 200 or 300 chf we have per month after bills and groceries to pay for language classes... It doesn't help that I still feel quite helpless about it all, and hopeless, and wind up crying every time I really try to make it clear, partially because I feel guilty and wrong for describing the situation exactly as I see it, that I'm being disloyal.

So, I can certainly see where the woman Biff describes would feel that she's holding on better to her self respect by begging. At least if you're begging on the streets, you don't have to explain to everyone why you need money (or show where every rappen has gone or is intended to go).

I can fairly easily and comfortably say "I'm not as well off as you"... I have a MUCH harder time saying "Please help me."

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If I were take the example of a friend of mine, a mime artist, he used to come to Zurich each Summer and did mime up and down Bahnhofstrasse. He took in about CHF15,000 per month. From there he went on to finance a mime school in the UK and I think another in the US.


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What are we defining as begging? Just going and asking for money or performing an act such as busking to receive money.

Also is prostitution more respectable than both? After all that's an actual job.
I am contemplating getting my hands on a sax (yes, still thinking about it, still haven't done it, see the comment above re how much "spare" money there is) and seeing if I can get up to some moderate skill level. I figure that would be easier to pick back up than a flute - and it's less hard to play when it's cold.

On the other hand, I was asked to come back to some random guy's apartment "for coffee" again today (which makes the 5th time) so perhaps prostitution would be easier to get into.
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  #38  
Old 11.08.2011, 23:26
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Re: Is begging more respectable than accepting social support?

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What if the local community don't like their people in need? What happens if Bert the Alcoholic Wife Beater applies for social aid from the people in his local community?

Surely it is better for Bert the Alcoholic Wife Beater to move out on his own and try to earn money from strangers - move to the city to look for work, as it were?
you know what, i think people don't have a problem with supporting people that are genuinely in need. what people don't like is when people take the piss by living on benefits forever and not even attempting to get a job.

for the socially excluded (as per your example) i would say they would then have to turn to organisations like the church for assistance.
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  #39  
Old 11.08.2011, 23:29
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Re: Is begging more respectable than accepting social support?

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Precisely my point: by refusing to participate in the humiliating circus that applying for - and accepting - welfare involves, she has maintained her dignity and self-respect, in a way that challenges our perceptions of such notions.
Agreed - you put it far better than me. Thank you
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  #40  
Old 11.08.2011, 23:47
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Re: Is begging more respectable than accepting social support?

I've found this thread very interesting...

As someone who is on social aid, I was prepared to be offended, I must admit!

To be honest, I do feel guilty about 'scrounging' off the Swiss state (which is a word I use myself to describe what I do). Particularly as I'd only actually earned money (and paid taxes) for 4 months... even though I'm only entitled to it because I did pay into the system in the UK.

However, I did use all my savings before turning to the state, and, as I wasn't in a fit state to beg, turn to the state I did.

Yes, I think I would have more self respect if I'd been able to find another job, or a way of making money, but I couldn't. And that was 18 months ago... and every attempt to 'get back on my feet' has been unsuccessful. So personally I'm very glad the state was there. And astonished (still) and what I get here compared to what I would get in the UK.

But yes, I do feel guilty. The thing I feel worst about is when the social services signed me up for an intensive French class... I lasted 2 days, then got ill and was back in hospital within a week. Now, even though I know I told the social worker I wasn't sure I could cope, and even though she told me to just give them a go, I still feel bad because I know how much those classes cost.

I tried making and selling jewellery (encouraged by the hospital)... but no-one bought (enough) of it... I have a voluntary job one day a week, and last month they realised that I've been paying for my travel expenses... so they gave me some money. I was so pleased to have money I'd actually worked for! Of course, I had to declare it and therefore had a deduction in my social aid...

Which is an interesting point, come to think of it. To get social aid, I have to complete forms each month, provide copies of my bank statements, and any other particular expenses I can claim back. It's all documented and above board. And believe me, if I go over my savings limit I will hear about it! But begging is 'cash in hand'. So although a beggar may be an entrepreneur, what about the question of whether he (or she) declares his (or her) income and makes the appropriate contributions? Isn't that part of respectability too?

By the way, I start a process on Monday that will hopefully get me back to being a productive member of society...
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