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Vice and the Poor

I think it's extremely unfair to punish people for being addicted to legal vices just because they happen to be, at the point of purchase, too poor to afford them conventionally. These are legal vices that the First World (at the expense of the third, in many cases) profits from. In fact I would argue these vices are tolerated also because they mollify the lower classes. Keep the workers in pubs and puffing away and they won't have the desire, time, notion or even lung power to protest.

Moreover it seems singularly nasty - indicative of the barefaced brutality of modern capitalist power strucutres - to deny the poor these vices. This is manifest through support for measures such as food stamps and welfare payment cards; systems that enable their overseers to control how the poor spend their money - even though the poor spend the greatest percentage of their wealth than other groups).

Through such systems they can lecture the poor on how best to conduct their lives; enforcing a moral component to simple economics (hypocritical, given these overseers themselves spend public money on themselves with equal frivolity oftentimes). People that are addicted - and it is undeniable that tobacco and alchohol contain this quality - need to use; this need doesn't recognise power structures, moralising or economics. So keeping people poor and in the grip of, albeit mild, vices, as a form of social control (whey else are cannabis lawes crumbling in even authorative places like the US), seems wrong to me.

Comments

  1. The whole benefits system seems to be morphing from something that is there to support people into a means to control them. With the DWP enforcing ever more onerous conditions on claimants, backed up with a sort of neo-Victorian morality (deserving v undeserving poor, skivers v strivers etc) the direction of travel is towards a more authoritarian, hypocritical and less free society.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's about creating a compliant slave workforce for big business who will readily accept low or no pay etc.

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