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Who Creates Social Problems and Why?
Publication date: 2002-04-17

'Social problems' are back in fashion!

Now, it is the Conservative Party who seek to get hold of that safety buoy and cling to it to be saved from the 'political oblivion'.

Yes. It is 'caring-and-sharing' again. And politicians make their pilgrimages to rundown council estates and take stances of the champions of 'the-deprived-and-the-oppressed'.

Deprived of what? Oppressed by whom? Who creates these social problems and why?

Unlike politicians and sociologists I was fortunate enough to see all the "social problems" not on the pages of reports inspired by the desire to provide support for a social theory, but at close range and for prolonged periods of time: I had lived among very poor people and in different countries including Britain. And while in some parts of the world poverty means not having food once a week (a 'meal' a day would have been luxury), in Britain the so-called poor are people living on welfare benefits which (taking into account housing, utility bills and other benefits in kind) amount to a tax-free income of some 5,000 to 10,000 a year per person. And many people live on such benefits throughout their whole life.

At the rate of interest of 4% per annum to receive an income of 5,000 a year for 50 years one would have to have over 100,000 in a bank deposit account. Not many people who work throughout their lives manage to save that much by the time they retire.

The reason people live in subsidised poverty on crime ridden council estates is not because they are poor, or 'working class', or because they are 'unlucky', but because of the way they use their time, energy and the money which they receive as their benefits.

Those who succede in getting out of the subsidised poverty into which they are born do so not through 'luck', but because they want to do so and are prepared to make the effort necessary to achieve that.

No, not many of those who leave their subsidised poverty become millionaires. Because to become millionaires requires more effort and determination than most people are prepared to dedicate to such purpose. But, there are many people who are content to live their lives in reasonable comfort by earning an honest living without reliance on the state benefits.

They are not 'rich', but they are not drug addicts, alcoholics, or criminals, and they are the majority of the people in Britain.

In fact drug addiction and alcohol abuse are not limited to council estates, they are also rife among those who are believed to be at the 'top' of the 'social ladder': millionaire pop stars, children of very wealthy parents, or even members of aristocracy (the very peak of the 'social pyramid').

So what is this that drives the so called 'privileged' to the same vices as those at the 'bottom of the social scale'?

The absence of feeling of control and responsibility over their own lives.

People who feel in control of their own lives and feel responsible for the results of their own actions will not use drugs and alcohol, because it diminishes their degree of control over themselves.

People who do not feel themselves in control of their own lives, feel that their life is empty, boring, and aimless. They feel helpless and inferior and a burden to themselves. For such people drugs and alcohol is a means of escape from the reality of life and from themselves. This is also often accompanied by sexual promiscuity, and homosexuality. The life of such people becomes driven by sensations of the moment.

And while millionaire pop stars can finance their vices from their wealth which is of no real benefit to them (because they do not know how to use it with real benefit to themselves or others), those at the 'bottom of the social scale' find that their benefits are not sufficient to finance their vices and resort to crime.

Crime, especially among teenagers and children is also a means of self-affirmation. It gives them feelings of power and control. They reject the false values of the political society and of the socialist state and develop their own values - the values of the street gangs.

I have met many people who came to this country as penniless immigrants or refugees. They came from countries where the amount of money spent on education by the government is negligible as compared to that in Britain, or even none at all. So they are not highly educated, and their English is poor even after decades of life in England.

Some of them have become rich, while others live contented lives earning their living by doing some 'lowly' work without reliance on state benefits. But, they are not drug addicts, alcoholics or criminals, or 'social problems'.

So, 'social problems' are not the result of poverty, and not even of lack of education, but of the way people see their place in the world.

If they see themselves as helpless elements of a hierarchical 'social structure' they become 'social problems', if they see themselves (rather than politicians, sociologists and social workers) responsible for their own lives, they will pull themselves out of poverty by their own efforts and, if they lack knowledge and skills, they will acquire that knowledge and develop those skills. They do not blame 'The Society' for their poverty. Nor do they expect favours from self-seeking politicians.

Because, if they follow politicians and sociologists they will become victims of the 'caring-sharing' racket of those who would wish to goad them to the council estates so as to make them dependent on themselves and use them as 'electoral fodder' to advance their 'political' careers.


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