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Mistreatment And Misgovernment Of The Poor In Developed Countries - Articles Surfing

Misgoverning the poor.

The poor in developed countries like the USA and UK, honest and dishonest alike, are handled only by the non-street-wise middle class who run government departments and other bodies - ensuring that the poor are generally badly mistreated and misgoverned.

Of course the poor in developed countries are a minority so that democratic political parties may easily see their votes as unneccessary, yet the poor are a socially significant minority whose misgovernment can seriously undermine society.

Mishousing the poor.

Often the poor are housed badly as when new social housing is produced in areas of severe affordable housing shortage like London, it is often produced in the form of very big estates with hundreds or even thousands of rented homes - generally with a view to hopefully making some scale cost savings, although that does not always result. Such big social housing renting estates easily incline to being tenanted badly and managed badly. Like private slums (and they do tend to become social housing slums over time), they often concentrate problem households including criminals in excluded sub-societies. The large numbers of children and youths brought together will tend to forming gangs that may be a mere nuisance or become more seriously criminal. Of course these problems are not confined only to big estates, wherever there are concentrations of poor families then children with little indoors will take to the streets and form street-gang sub-cultures.

Developed countries' social exclusion policies, by government and by social housing landlords and other bodies, will hence often need to especially address areas housing large numbers of low-income families. However, those expected to produce such social inclusion policies will generally be educated professionals with little or no experience of living in social exclusion housing, and they may commonly have correct general theories but often be missing the correct practical detail needed. Consultation with less educated low-incomed renters themselves is likely to help only to a limited extent, and those dealing with social exclusion housing need to find the tiny handful of street-wise affordable housing professionals who somehow do happen to have substantial experience of themselves living in and raising a family in such low-income housing.

The UK is now making some limited attempts to copy the equally limited US Hope VI scheme to convert big bad estate areas to a mix of the unemployed, low-income earners and the better-off. But this sort of housing inclusion move needs other non-housing inclusion policies to be also addressed at the same time or they are doomed to failure. The poor will have some good ideas on practical solutions, but poor housing areas are also likely to have an occasional housing professional resident. It is undoubtedly preferable if all big new housing developments are tenanted more reasonably, as by including a mix of some affordable rent units, some sale units and some market rent or near market rent units. Existing big social housing renting estates will often need to be made mixed tenure and often also need to have the proportion of unemployed households reduced.

The management and policing of poor housing areas is often inappropriate, basically taking them as no-go areas, and it also often attracts inappropriate solutions. Some support heavy police presence and/or continuous CCTV camera use, while others oppose both police presence and CCTV cameras as 'police-state' intrusion. But most tenants in such areas favour a practical position of both being always available but with just sufficient police presence when needed and with CCTV cameras to be used only some of the time as needed. On both police and CCTV cameras, the extremes of 100% and 0% are generally not acceptable - the right balanced uses of both is what is wanted and needed.

Tenants can easily feel stuck in a big bad poor housing estate, especially bad for children, if there is a local shortage of affordable housing as in London. A transfer request may get the reply "in about 30 years time", and they may be unemployed and/or unskilled. Realistic transfer alternatives really need to be found in these circumstances. And a family with young children having to , or deciding to, stay on a big poor housing estate should be advised to try to avoid their children making friends with other local children, as by not using the local schools.

Miseducating the poor.

Governments tend to treating older children like adults for school attendance, bad behaviour and crime - but treating them completely as babies for state money. Older children will act adult whatever governments want, and poor children often take over the streets and most schools - and they increasingly teach successfully a pro-crime anti-learning anti-government lifestyle that will threaten democracy if not properly addressed soon. Older children need a much more consistent set of policies from governments, treating secondary school children more like adults for everything and one MUST is some pay for school attendance - if necessary taking it from other family welfare payouts. This will most directly affect poor children especially, but will be better for all.

The many unneccessary problems of the honest poor may also include eg having only black-and-white TV with few channels - for which the UK has a mandatory license fee and not buying that brings criminal prosecution (for being poor and not dishonest ?) - and even those having such license are still harassed 'as possible-evaders of the dearer colour TV license'. And eg if the honest poor's children have no passports because they are expensive then they cannot accept an offer of a free foreign holiday.

Policing of the poor is often unhelpful to them rearing their children to become honest citizens, with a real need for police to greatly increase catch-rates for the main crimes of their young children - street vandalism and shoplifting. Even a big improvement in one of those would be a great help. Of course street vandalism needs many more police on the streets. And shoplifting needs an extensive police-run shop CCTV system for smaller stores. It is catching child crimes early that needs big improvement, not necessarily jailing children or parents.

Attempts at inclusion of the poor.

Many non-street-wise middle-class professional 'experts' may claim that poverty is fine for children as long as they have love - but poverty and social exclusion always do some damage and good government should try to help minimise it if possible. But affluent country governments have been increasing legal constraints and sticks to beat poor children and poor parents - as towards making parents smacking their children illegal. It is largely poor parents who smack their children for misbehaving mostly over having no money to buy treats to reward good child behaviour ?! Increasing sticks for poor parents on parenting, looks like a plan to take away all their children and put them in government 'care' - a disaster tried and failed before in many countries ! But middle-class run governments just cannot understand how to best deal with the poor.

In developed countries like the USA and UK, the poor and other minorities may effectively be excluded from obtaining reasonable work, education, or holidays etcetera or generally equal opportunity and fair treatment - and at the extreme a society may treat some minorities as social Lepers and/or social or political Scapegoats. This sort of social exclusion harms those concerned, and making them anti-social also harms all of society greatly. But can middle-class run governments ever learn how to best deal with the poor ? Increasing their oppression only fires increasing backlashes, but democratic political parties in affluent countries mostly continue to ignore these major issues.

If developed middle-class government cannot find a way to better govern the poor and other minorities, then maybe modern government needs less middle-class officials. Maybe a third of politicians should not be elected, but instead be randomly selected from elector lists - but can any middle-class politician such a constitutional change that might cost them their very profitable job ?

Copyright 2006 Vincent Wilmot

Submitted by:

Vincent Wilmot

Vincent Wilmot currently lives in Grimsby UK and has several interesting websites including http://www.social-exclusion-housing.com.



Copyright © 1995 - Photius Coutsoukis (All Rights Reserved).


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