Hypothetical scenario: The path from poverty to independence.
You were born into poverty, had a poor education, reached adulthood with no marketable skills/experience, have no hope for scholarships or financial aid of any kind due to a number of factors.
Your parents just abandoned you. You have 30 days to come up with $600 or lose your home. You must also meet your other basic needs in the meantime. No friend or family are available to assist you with board or other needs. You need not keep your current home, the only requirement is that you accomplish all of this on your own power, with neither financial aid to assist you or dependants you need to support.
Please respond within these parameters; this is not the only scenario I will be presenting, so criticisms regarding this particular one are misplaced. I will respond within the same paramters.
Please see my argument below prefixed "NOTES" for more specifics.
1) What is your plan to meet your basic needs in the short term?
2) What is your path to financial stability in the long term?
The goal here is threefold:
Firstly, to determine just how reasonable or unreasonable it is to expect individuals in poverty to escape it on their own power. As such, welfare and similar benefits are not to be relied upon in this particular scenario. A revised scenario taking welfare et al into account will be presented later.
Secondly, to refute or reinforce claims made that remaining in poverty is the result of choices made by those already in poverty.
Thirdly, to refute or reinforce claims made that those who attain wealth do so primarily due to the choices they have made, and not due to advantages held from the get go; an inverse of the second goal, so to speak.
These determinations will not be made based on this debate alone; I hope to visit several possible scenarios.
Potential solutions identified for this demographic (as of Friday Morning 3/13), sorted first by dependance on circumstance and second by my personal interpretation of their viability (subjective, explanations below), as well as notes on how we can improve the availability and reduce the reliability on circumstance.
I) Highly dependant on circumstances:
-1) Daver: Ditch the home, take any job that can be found for immediate survival, seek any free job training or education opportunities available, seek work in the field, save and advance.
--A) Lack of funds for immediate transportation makes this reliant on local demand for unskilled labor
--B) Also reliant upon free job training/education being available within walking distance (very short term, can begin immediately and proceed as quickly as the class goes) or within affordable bus/other mass transit range (more long term, need to save some funds from the acquired job, and will likely have to learn at a slower rate).
--C) Further requires awareness of these free education opportunities.
We can improve this option and make it more accessible with better advertisement of free education and job training opportunities, and possibly create a bus voucher program specifically for unemployed individuals trying to get back on their feet to reach these training centers; this could significantly reduce the reliance on circumstances.
-2) DKCairns: Travel to a large farm that will provide room & board for workers locally (or similar operation requiring large amounts of relatively unskilled labor; orchards and some mining operations may qualify). Save and get back on your feet, proceed with higher education, etc.
--A) This is fundamentally reliant on the availability of such an operation within the distance one can afford to travel.
--B) Also, obviously, knowledge of the existence and location of such an operation.
We can improve this option and make it more accessible with similar techniques to Daver's plan; we would also need to encourage more operations that could potentially be run this way to consider this plan, possibly by offering subsidies. Such operations should also be well-advertised, and a similar bus voucher program could be employed to help get the potential workers there.
-3) sauh: Panhandling/whatever job is available, camping on public land in the interim, and networking among individuals in similar situations to eventually save to purchase a small plot of land to farm communally.
--A) Reliant on local demand for labor and/or the balance between those willing to dole out money to panhandlers vs the number of individuals panhandling.
--B) Further reliant on the availability of public land for camping wherein the police will not evict/arrest/shoot you.
--C) Further reliant on being able to network with sufficient individuals to cobble together sufficient knowledge to actually run a farm, or the availability of free information and training to do the same.
--D) Further reliant on the availability of small plots of arable land.
Potential to improve this option is limited; increasing the willingness of citizens to give to panhandlers or increasing the local demand for labor are difficult to do artificially. Effort would need to be made in the legal sphere to ensure that these individuals can camp on public land at all, and of course public land suitable for camping would be required. Unowned/unused land that is naturally arable is in relatively short supply, and making land that is not naturally arable arable requires significant resources. What we CAN do is subsidize and promote programs to help unskilled individuals learn how to run a farm, and similar to the other options provide bus vouchers or the equivalent to help get them there, but that's only a small part of the solution here.
II) Circumstance agnostic
-1) Joe: Do whatever is required to get by in the short term, then join the military who will cover your basic needs and potentially offer higher education.
This is a pretty solid plan that is generally available and accessible to everyone in America. The downside of course being that it's the military- but it's still a viable fallback option for anyone physically capable of qualifying.
-2) Thewayitis: Resort to a life of crime to survive.
This is also available for almost everyone, but is far from an ideal solution, and is unlikely to ever result in actual stability beyond what a cell can provide- though I can certainly see the merits of this side (to a certain mindset) if it is being compared to joining the military in a situation where those are the only real options.
I never said resort to a life of crime (these are your words). I even stated that stealing was a requirement in the world in which I played out your scenario. You set a hypothetical scenario up with no boundaries as to what the world is like in this scenario. If you had set the perimeters of this scenario to exist within the rules and laws of the USA in 2015, I may have answered differently.
I understand what you mean, but what I'm looking for here are particular plans for an individual to attempt to succeed here. I thought that was rather clear.
Should I take this to mean that you don't believe it is reasonable to expect someone to succeed in this situation via playing by the rules without being heavily reliant on circumstances or just plain luck (as in counting on a relatively-low probability occurence, not as in being influenced by some mystical force of luck)? That is a perfectly acceptable response, and I feel it's a pretty accurate assessment.
If you disagree, I would care to see how you would respond seriously.
Short term plan earn some cash.
1. Ditch the house, moving to a shelter. ------ $600 burden gone.
2. Go everywhere and take any job you find. ------- Keep eating.
Long term plan
1. Get free job counseling, chose a target job.
2. Get free job training.
3. Keep going until you get targeted job.
4. Work smart with positive goals for advancement. Be early, be eager, get more training as neeeded.
I was kind of leaning in this direction, and something very similar to this is what I personally figured the best possible path to be, but it still has some problems.
So in other words, the plan is fundamentally dependant on the availability of a shelter that currently has room to take you in, as well as a certain measure of local demand for unskilled labor, correct? Free job counseling and training may not be available locally, although through saving what money could be earned, a larger range of locations would be available via bus or other transit- though this would likely make things take longer, that alone hardly disqualifies things.
Has potential, could work, but is still highly dependant on circumstances and no small amount of luck, I'd say. Would you agree?
Well kinda maybe sort of.
I think my own experience has shown me that getting a job often includes getting to where the job is available. The same with training and experience. Choices about obstacles are still at the core of it I think.
It can be hard, frustrating and quitting on your goal is always there to tempt you.
Most certainly yes, luck is definately part of the struggle as well, but while you can succeed without luck, you can't without trying.
I don't know what the situation is like in America but where I live in the far north of Australia if I were in that situation I would take the bus to the nearest large banana farm about 150km away. There they would find me a job that would not necessarily be something I would choose to do but I am not in the luxury of having a choice.The farm provides very basic accommodation and cash in hand tax paid wages. So in 30 days less days off I can earn enough to pay my expenses over the 30 days and the $600, and with what I have left over I can look around for opportunities for training or a better job and so on and on to the road to independence.
That's actually a fairly solid plan, all told, for this scenario. Might be difficult with some of the others I have in mind, but that's neither here nor there; the goal isn't for a solution that fits every situation, but for different solutions to fit various different situations- this is a good one because it's something we can potentially do to help those in poverty. In the US, opportunities for similar jobs are few and far between, and not broadly known in much of the company. I've only known one person who was able to pull off something similar, and he stumbled across it in a passing conversation with an old army friend who had seen the operation near the base he was stationed at- a huge apple orchard, I believe it was. Perhaps here in the US we could convince some (more) companies to set up something similar, and get the information about it out there? Not certain which industries that might be viable for, but we could probably come up with something.
Yeah, first ditch the house along with all concepts of "success in America" today. Get together with like minded people and take any day labor work and beg. Camping on public land until you have a enough within the group to purchase a small parcel of land and farm. Personally sustained communal living. With hard work you should slowly but steadily grow.
Well, after tax and what not it'll be more like 700-800ish. I should probably have clarified that this is a rental, but the whole thing was designed to suggest that no assets were available, so I suppose I assumed that went without saying.
Even so, nothing else in the idea is predicated on the assets gained from selling the house, really, so we can let that slide for the most part. The military is a solid option for some in this situation, if such is acceptable. I wouldn't particularly feel comfortable with suggesting the military as a plan for anyone and everyone in a similar situation, but it's certainly a point for consideration.