Wednesday, February 24, 2016

The welfare state begets dependency. Imagine that!

A British researcher has published a book 'revealing' what many (including yours truly) have believed for years - that welfare itself increases the number of those who actually resist going to work, preferring to remain on benefits indefinitely.  Now the proponents of the 'nanny state' are trying to deny him a platform to disseminate his views.  The Telegraph reports:

... the welfare state is eroding the economic and social prospects of the nation by increasing the proportion of individuals in the population who possess the employment-resistant personality profile. As the book explains, this proliferation of employment-resistant personality characteristics occurs due to the damaging effect on personality development of exposure to childhood disadvantage. Hence a welfare state which sets up perverse incentives that increase the number of children who are born into disadvantaged households (as happened in the UK circa 1999) will increase the number of individuals in the population who suffer personality mis-development due to exposure to disadvantage during childhood.

. . .

It is a separate moral question as whether the welfare state should encourage the birth of any children into disadvantaged households, given that they tend to suffer neglect and, as illustrated by the Troubled Families Programme, place a significantly higher than average per-capita burden on the public purse (approximately £19,000 for each member of a troubled family versus £1,900 for the average person). And this doesn’t even take into account the logical incoherence of setting up a welfare state to alleviate disadvantage but that has become a means of increasing the number of children who are born into disadvantage. Lord Beveridge must be turning in his grave.

. . .

Anyhow, there wasn’t much public reaction to my book until the run-up to my lecture at the London School of Economics on Tuesday 9th February. As has been publicised, some threats of disruption caused the organisers to postpone my lecture. I understood their decision but am still perplexed by the attitude of the no-platforming activists, not only because they ended up providing extra publicity for my book but also because there are no downsides to discussing scientific research. If it is good science then the discussion will benefit society by helping it get adopted quicker and if it is bad science then the discussion will benefit society help it get debunked quicker.

There's more at the link.

It sounds entirely logical to me.  If welfare removes any incentive to actually have to earn a living, a proportion of those on welfare will develop a mindset that says they shouldn't be required to earn a living - that instead, they're owed a living by society.  That's one element of the so-called 'welfare trap'.  Unfortunately, since it's politically incorrect to identify such elements, it's no wonder that those who live or die by political, rather than scientific, correctness are trying to deny Dr. Perkins a platform from which to do so.  Moonbattery at its finest!



raven said...

There is a benefit to politicians who believe the dependents will vote for them, if they promise to supply more goodies.

When the total control state evolves to the level the politicians desire, no more voting will occur.

Guess what happens to the non productive then?

Pawpaw said...

Until we come to the conclusion that some percentage of the population is destined to starve to death, we'll have a welfare state. It's amazing to me when the "pore and starvin'" are fat. How is that possible?

It's for the children? Really? If you couldn't afford your children, why did you have them in the first place?

Sarah said...

I skimmed a few chapters for free from Google Books. It appears that Perkins, the author, also notes that intensive preschooling has very noticeable positive effects on adulthood outcomes, and that in the long run, it seems this tends to save money on future costs, mostly on the criminal justice side of things.

Maybe a better idea to look at things as less of a welfare: yes/no, than as targeted spending where it does the most good.

JK Brown said...

I haven't seen any studies comparing the outcome of kids raised on welfare to those raised on Social Security Survivor's benefits due to the death of a parent(s). Take the Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan, he was supported by SSSB after his father died. That's just one, I know of a few more, but I wonder how the groups compare overall.

We need to get past the moralizing. Many rush to raise lack of father in the home, but that is not defining. It may be absent father+(something else), but absent father is not the fundamental cause.

Or if you feel it is, then such a person should be vehemently against military expeditions to foreign lands as war causes the death of fathers (and sometimes mothers) among the expeditionary forces. Fighting for survival on American soil is different.

Not to offer excuses for those who become dependencies, but a good portion of the problem could also be induced by the system. Here is an observation by George Orwell in 'The Road to Wigan Pier' Ch 3:

Watching this man go to the colliery to draw his compensation, I was struck by the profound differences that are still made by status. Here was a man who had been half blinded in one of the most useful of all jobs and was drawing a pension to which he had a perfect right, if anybody has a right to anything. Yet he could not, so to speak, demand this pension — he could not, for instance, draw it when and how he wanted it. He had to go to the colliery once a week at a time named by the company, and when he got there he was kept waiting about for hours in the cold wind. For all I know he was also expected to touch his cap and show gratitude to whoever paid him; at any rate he had to waste an afternoon and spend sixpence in bus fares. It is very different for a member of the bourgeoisie, even such a down-at-heel member as I am. Even when I am on the verge of starvation I have certain rights attaching to my bourgeois status. I do not earn much more than a miner earns, but I do at least get it paid into my bank in a gentle-manly manner and can draw it out when I choose. And even when my account is exhausted the bank people are passably polite.

This business of petty inconvenience and indignity, of being kept waiting about, of having to do everything at other people’s convenience, is inherent in working-class life. A thousand influences constantly press a working man down into a passive role. He does not act, he is acted upon. He feels himself the slave of mysterious authority and has a firm conviction that ‘they’ will never allow him to do this, that, and the other.

Anonymous said...

If you consider a dollar - albeit no longer representing a debt payable with a specified quantity of gold - but still representing a common measure of value, whether it be for some amount of your personal labor, or a certain portion of a possession that might be of worth to another party... I have never been able to rectify how the government squares giving the same dollar that you or I trade our time and effort for, to someone who doesn't trade anything for it... how can that be the same dollar? It almost would seem that in simple algebra terms, the work you or I do is therefore worth nothing... hahaha. man... I gotta lay off the catnip.

JoeMama said...

"...employment-resistant personality profile"

That is an elegant turn-of-phrase.

Anonymous said...

And how many times have you heard a politician give a fiery speech about getting the country "back to work again"!!!!
Ha, are you kidding me!!!! Those on welfare or employment resistant DON'T WANT TO GET BACK TO WORK!!!! Seesh, I've been saying that for years; politicians won't get elected if you promise work for all. That claim is a death sentence in this society.

deborah harvey said...

remember 'the bell curve' ?
suffered the same fate.
heads in the sand, do not identify and rectify the problem.
wait until it kills you dead and then notice it if you can.
it is racist, sexist, and whatever other 'ist' tickles your fancy to ignore or encourage what is harmful, especially when a fix may be fairly easy, as well as salubrious.

C. G. R. said...

Although I already mention my being unhappy with the direction of David Weber's Honor Harrington series, I'd like to mention that the first books in the series presented the main antagonist - the People's Republic of Haven - as the result of exactly this phenomenon, which evolved into a death spiral. As much as I dread it, I'm also curious how accurate Weber's Haven will reflect into our real-life society...