[Paleopsych] welfare

Steve Hovland shovland at mindspring.com
Mon Nov 29 04:49:06 UTC 2004

Another problem is how do we keep the number of
potential welfare recipients from increasing?

I have long thought that if a woman gives birth at
public expense she should be sterilized after

Is that a leftist or rightist idea?

Steve Hovland

-----Original Message-----
From:	Lynn D. Johnson, Ph.D. [SMTP:ljohnson at solution-consulting.com]
Sent:	Sunday, November 28, 2004 8:12 PM
To:	The new improved paleopsych list
Subject:	Re: [Paleopsych] welfare

Self actualization is a theory that has not stood the test of time, and 
psychologists today do not use it. There are abundant examples of people 
at a survival level showing self-sacrifice, C.f., Bouncing Back, by 
Geoff Norman. It is out of print but in libararies.
    Your idea that people are thrown off welfare is a straw man, not 
what really happens. What is the truth is that current welfare systems 
(depending, I suppose on which state) run out after a period of time, 
and everyone knows when that is coming.
    I  voluntarily help a family that will always depend on some kind of 
welfare, but the community here supports them and helps the husband find 
sheltered workshop employment and supplements his income. The wife works 
also, again in a sheltered workshop situation. They are happier and more 
fulfilled by not depending on a dole but feeling that they are earning 
their way. So my point remains. We are built so as to feel more joy when 
we contribute to others. Another c.f.: Authentic Happiness by Seligman. 
See his discussion of increasing joy by increasing your helpfulness to 

Steve Hovland wrote:

>And the other thing your story does is
>to refer to the Self Actualization level 
>rather than the Survival Level.
>You have to survive before you can
>actualize.  Throwing people off welfare
>and into a world where there are no
>good jobs brings them to the brink
>of starvation, not actualization.
>Steve Hovland
>-----Original Message-----
>From:	Lynn D. Johnson, Ph.D. [SMTP:ljohnson at solution-consulting.com]
>Sent:	Sunday, November 28, 2004 4:19 PM
>To:	The new improved paleopsych list
>Subject:	Re: [Paleopsych] welfare
>   I teach an MBA course on Problem Solving, and use Joe Versus the 
>Volcano to illustrate various problems and their analysis. In the scene 
>"This is a real scene" where Tom Hanks/Joe and Meg Ryan/Angelica are 
>looking out over Los Angeles, Angelica talks of suicide. Joe says that 
>if we do what we are most afraid of doing, our lives work.
>    Angelica: You mean, stop taking my father's money and leave LA?
>    Joe: See! You know what it is you really want to do.
>Angelica's response to Joe illustrates the dilemma of unearned income.
>    Later in the movie, Meg Ryan as Patricia learns that Joe turned down 
>unearned intimacies with her sister, Angelica, and she knows something 
>about Joe from that.
>    But you didn't deal with my point about my own experience in working 
>with those receivintg welfare, and the degrading effects it has. Like 
>Angelica, they thought they had no other choice, until the 
>Clinton-Republican alliance welfare reform of 1994 or 6, and they had to 
>go to work. Unlike your example of people working in degrading 
>conditions, they felt trapped because they were afraid of giving up the 
>dole. People say "Take this job and shove it" all the time, because they 
>see themselves as free. They can work elsewhere. The dole creates an 
>illusion of a lack of freedom.  It is unearned, and one must placate the 
>welfare gods. One's energies are centered around keeping the dole going 
>instead of achieving something, as Joe Banks tells Angelica Graynamore.
>    This clearly is a personal position, one I confess comes from my 
>culture, but one that seems to have borne positive fruit (more people 
>are working post welfare reform). I believe in reducing welfare and 
>creating workfare programs because I believe people are more fully alive 
>and vital when they are producing something valuable to the group. 
>Howard has spoken to this point many times, the delirious joy of the 
>crowd responding to what you do, whether it is to sing or invent a 
>pocket fisherman. Then we are most alive, most energized.
>Michael Christopher wrote:
>>But I still believe welfare does allow a greater
>>degree of freedom than being forced into a work
>>program in which there is little choice of the type of
>>job or employer. Being forced to work most of the day
>>for someone who doesn't treat you well is not freedom.
>But you are free to leave any moment, and many do.
>>Having a safety net that allows you to structure your
>>own time (or at least pick from a broad range of
>>training and employment options) does give a greater
>>degree of freedom. 
>--That sounds like an ideological position, and let's
>Yes, you are correct, it is ideological, based on cultural mores.
>>assume for a moment that it's true (perhaps it's true
>>for some and not others?) Are there ways of having
>>people earn their safety net income, without depriving
>>them of choice and dignity? I've met many people who
>>had gotten used to working for employers who were
>>bullies, and it seemed pretty degrading to them. They
>>were on drugs, unable to plan ahead, etc. So I could
>>make the same argument about a system which has a
>>permanent low-wage class, that you make about the
>>welfare system. 
>>I think it's reasonable to give people options to earn
>>an income. I just worry that forcing people into a job
>>market ignores the psychological impact of such an
>>experiment, just as you worry about the psychological
>>impact of welfare. We have to be humble enough to
>>recognize that it's ALL an experiment, and we're
>>playing with the lives of human beings when we
>>abruptly change the system.
>>Do you Yahoo!? 
>>Read only the mail you want - Yahoo! Mail SpamGuard. 
>>paleopsych mailing list
>>paleopsych at paleopsych.org
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