[Paleopsych] welfare and psych
Lynn D. Johnson, Ph.D.
ljohnson at solution-consulting.com
Thu Nov 25 04:08:40 UTC 2004
Welfare as freedom? Fascinating reframe. Doesn't quite work with me, but
it is very sophisticated. Much you say is spot on, so I will just
comment on that reframe.
The other frame I can borrow from the black writer, Star Parker, a
former welfare mother who wrote "Uncle Sam's Plantation: How Big
Government Enslaves America's Poor and What We Can Do About It"
My own view is that unearned income, whether by welfare or by trust
fund, corrupts the recipient and degrades society. Welfare addicts
(verb, not noun) but keeps people at a disgracefully low level,
constantly emotionally abused by the inevitable bureaucracy endemic to
all welfare states. I worked in the public mental health system, saw it
myself in my clients.
So the welfare state harms those it purports to help. It is a principle
reason why societies lower in welfare state policies have a higher
standard of living and more people employed. Socialism and
welfare-statism degrade society and impoverish workers.
Especially the projections from the 1970s that showed that Britain,
before Maggie Thatcher, would have been below Albania in per-capita
income by 2000. The Iron Maggie saved the UK (provocative, but there is
C.f.: Walter Williams' analysis (Chairman, Dept of Economics, George
Mason University) or Thomas Sowell. Both Ph.D. economists who happen to
be black and make a rather convincing argument that the welfare state
has greatly harmed the black community.
Example: Social security takes the most from black and latino males, and
gives the most to well-to-do or wealthy white females. It is a reverse
income redistribution scheme, gone horribly wrong. Social justice?
Reform social security!
Listen to Wednesday, Nov. 24 program. I like Surowiecki, but he is
completely out to lunch on this issue.
Your contributions are thought provoking and challenging. Even when I
disagree, I think about it. Thanks.
Michael Christopher wrote:
>>>Welfare has been pared back and more people are
>working. Social security will run out of money, and
>the ownership notion may be a way to salvage it.<<
>--The problem may be psychological. It is not easy for
>anyone to give up autonomy and freedom to depend on
>another with absolute trust. For males especially, it
>is perceived as humiliation and loss of status.
>Welfare enables people to have freedom, or relative
>freedom (the freedom to persue an education, read or
>otherwise improve themselves, or to be "naughty"... we
>often talk as if they're all in the "naughty"
>category), and asking people who are used to freedom
>to depend on some privatized community help projects
>may not work well. We can assume it WILL work, but it
>may not, and it's a bit irresponsible to change things
>drastically in a short period of time without knowing
>how it will affect the ecological balance of the
>Psychologically, it is assumed that whoever has the
>money will be 'daddy' and the ones without will be in
>the 'child' role. A good child who flatters daddy and
>pumps his ego gets a raise. A bad child who
>contradicts daddy and makes him look stupid risks
>demotion. Forcing people into those roles is always
>perceived as a tremendous slap in the face, especially
>if one ethinic group tends to get pushed into that
>position. A few corporations and private programs will
>genuinely understand people and work well with them,
>and for them it will be very positive. For those who
>are not so good with people, a system which forces
>some into dependency roles and enables others to
>become 'daddy' will produce chaotic results. The
>Stanford Prison Experiment is one example. State
>programs have the possibility of transparency and
>accountability, but private programs can be slippery.
>Numerous "boot camp" programs for teens have been
>caught in scandals involving horrific abuse. That kind
>of thing is why we have public supervision over
>programs involving people controlling other people.
>Many adults in the business world and in politics get
>addicted to that 'daddy' role and misuse it by
>emotionally abusing those in the 'child' position.
>Some degree of accountability is always necessary, and
>it cannot be private regulation of private enterprise.
>If your product is an object, no problem... but if
>your product is human beings, you need another layer
>of accountability not needed in normal companies. You
>just can't say "everyone take care of everybody else,
>I trust you". You have to provide systems of
>transparency and accountability, and some degree of
>government involvement, or at least involvement of
>independent NGOs, is necessary when private entities
>perform psychological experiments on human beings.
>Messing with someone's sense of security is always a
>psychological experiment, it is social engineering.
>Welfare too is social engineering, so it all has to be
>looked at in terms of its real effects, not on
>ideological assumptions about what will happen if
>people are thrown out of public programs.
>Never try a social engineering experiment on a large
>scale without first trying it on intermediate levels.
>Welfare reform is not a bad idea, but it has to be
>done in a way that doesn't put people in a
>psychological bind because that just creates extra
>tension which is taken out on real children. When
>adults play those daddy/child games, it is humiliating
>for the losers, who often inflict their humiliation on
>whoever is below them on the social hierarchy, i.e.
>kids and submissive women. People need to know the
>system that keeps them from falling is not run by
>people who despise weakness and use their position of
>power to abuse the weak.
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