Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Poverty, like obesity, is your own fault?

From Guardian article, today.
Or under this headline in the Times:
David Cameron tells the fat and the poor: Take responsibility

"I have not found the words to say it sensitively," said Cameron. "Then I realised, that is the whole point: we, as a society, have been far too sensitive. In order to avoid injury to people's feelings, to avoid appearing judgmental, we have failed to say what needs to be said. We have seen a decades-long erosion of responsibility, of social virtue, of self-discipline, respect for others, of deferring gratification instead of instant gratification."

Calling for an end to the "stultifying silence" about what mattered, he said: "We talk about people being 'at risk of obesity' instead of talking about people who eat too much and take too little exercise. We talk about people being at risk of poverty, or social exclusion: it's as if these things - obesity, alcohol abuse, drug addiction - are purely external events like a plague or bad weather."

Some truth in what he says, but I am worried that poverty has somehow found its way in there among all those variables we can control. Low wage jobs wouldn't have anything to do with it of course.

1 comment:

Doc said...

But as someone said the poor will always be with us. In some form. By setting targets to eradicate poverty we are setting ourselves up for failure, I think. It has to be the individual who wants to break out of the circle. Indeed lots do it. and as a society we do try to give them the tools. But when there is no desire to learn any skill what do you do?