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Helping Poverty




Mnay people cannot help themselves and cannot extract themselves from difficult circumstances.





















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We tend to look at people who have problems as all existing within a single category. This unfortunately complicates our ability to deliver care to them. Many people who have become “hopeless” have done so for different reasons or because of different circumstances. Assistance to these people therefore needs to be tailored to meet their difficulties.

Assisting people also implies that we all share the same values and therefore we have the same goals. This is patently not true.  WE do not necessarily all share similar values and goals. We tend to seek to assist people to achieve things that we ourselves value Some people cannot be “ helped” by us simply because the goal we wish to help them to achieve is not the goal that they would desire to achieve.


Causes of Hopelessness or Poverty

  • People can end up in difficult circumstances for no fault of their own due to crises within their lives such as divorce, death, or debt.

  • People can have deficiencies in their mentation. For example, some people are intellectually disabled. For example, some people develop acquired brain injuries. For example, some people’s minds are scrambled by drugs or alcohol.

  • People with drug and alcohol usage issues have very different goals to most of the rest of us. The specific goal is to use as much as possible of the substance to which they are addicted. For these reasons these people are willing to forego food and accommodation in the pursuit of more drugs and alcohol. Society cannot condone these goals, especially as it must underwrite the human costs of health damage arising from the addictions.

  • Some people have simply decided that it is hard work to stay in the rat race so they have given up or decided that they do not wish to maintain the same goals as the rest of the population. It is easier just to float along and do little than to work and strive. They have just decided to opt out.

Kinkajou..Kinkajou Tells It True

Kinkajou Tells You What Really Happened. The Truth Is Out There!

  • Some people have a talent for making inappropriate choices in many aspects of their lives.

  • Some people have genetics that makes them slide, not compete to thrive.

KinkajouMed Kinkajou

The issue becomes then that in some societies, people are classified into the deserving poor and the undeserving poor. I think though that perhaps this is an oversimplification of the circumstances in which people find themselves. It becomes a social goal then to help the deserving poor, not the undeserving poor.

It also behoves us to remember, that if you do not work and contribute to society, one cannot be entitled to be rich. A lesson that countries like Australia need to learn. There is no motivation without reward. I think there is far too much emphasis on helping the poor – at any cost. We tend to forget that society’s members have responsibilities to each other- and that if we help the poor, they have a reciprocal debt of some type  to the society that helps them.

The issue with all the above examples is that giving people things without expectation or obligation may not solve problems for many of these people. Poor people do not need just help. They need help that is appropriate to their circumstances and goals. And we need to accept that these may not be goals that we ourselves would choose. perhaps society needs to set the goals.

Appropriate Accomodation for the poor? Appropriate Accomodation for the poor?

Some of the help we give may not be useful either. In Australia we give money (Social Security) to poor people. Some of these people can be unable to budget, or unable to organise and run their own lives. These people need more than just money. Money becomes only a small part of the answer, and not the most important part.

In Australia, many people may be placed in accommodation. However, if their status is upgraded from being sick on a sickness benefit to unemployment benefits, their income reduces and they may be unable to maintain the accommodation in which they have been placed.

KinkajouMed Kinkajou: As a society , it behoves us to decide what is the minimum at which we would like people to live. And this may  differ for each of the above categories of people. For example, a 5 m² apartment with a very narrow bed (Army style bunk) and access to communal toilet showers may well be an appropriate minimum standard of accommodation for someone who has decided they do not wish to work, that they do not have a role in the community and that they have in fact opted out of what we call the rat race.

Especially if drugs are to feature prominently in their lives. “Reward for effort” rather than “capitalism” is an appropriate description of such an ethic. And it is a valid option to choose the “minimum”- with no shame to either the society or the individual for making such a choice.

We owe people some care as a society, but we cannot reward inappropriate choices and cannot support health injuring behaviours. To pay for someone’s drug use is to define society as part of the drug problem. The action of the society in providing financial help thus being to increase drug usage in these population sectors.

However, denying care achieves little either. The current program in Australia is to use a type of credit card that only allows people to purchase food and to arrange automatic bill payment for “drug affected” people. Social needs are met and the opportunity for problem behaviour is mitigated.

As a society we have to decide what is the minimum level of assistance or supervision that we can provide. We have to accept that with human nature some people do take advantage of others. It is not worthwhile stopping programs because the occasional person (carer) takes advantage of them. While things do not always go as we would like, to deny assistance of all is not in the interests of the community.

A definition of expected failure % in many different aspects is important to decide whether a program should continue. These decisions should not default to a media circus intent only on its own headlines and its own profits from selling news stories.


Keeping people safe requires us to decide what is the minimum food allocation, what is the minimum accommodation allocation and what is the minimum level of assistance and of what sort that we as a community should provide to our hopeless.


“Incentive” is very important. We must always accept the people may wish to change their status over time. However, some people talk the good fight but have absolutely no intention of changing their ways or circumstances. I think it is important that incentive be appropriate to the efforts that people make.


KinkajouMed Kinkajou : Examples From Science Fiction referring to this technology:

In science fiction we have the example of Derek Reece (Terminator series). In this scenario, it is being given choices by John Connor, that enables people to decide not to accept the choices that have been given to them by Skynet-namely death.
Derek Reece Survivor Future SigmaPsi Derek Reece

Next example is that of Jantiff Ravensroke. (Wyst Alastor: Jack Vance), and by the same author Jubal Droad. (Maeske: Thaery: Jack Vance). Both novels show how people can cope with difficult circumstances. And sometimes outside help is required. To roughly quote: “ An exact justice may well destroy this community.

What we seek is  to set things to right. We make one or two dramatic examples/ punishments, hoping to frighten others into regeneracy. The method works unevenly. Often the most iniquitous are the least inconvenienced.”

The last example is that of talk to a “Brain” from the Culture novels by Iain Banks. Because this civilisation has become so automated and roboticized, there is very little necessity for many people to work. They can have quite pleasant lives following their own desires and needs, with little reference to their own society.

This is an interesting example for me. I personally believe that work is essential to give direction and purpose to people’s lives. I think perhaps we would all like to work less. However I believe that sometimes life runs better and people look after themselves better in their working lives, rather than in their nonworking lives.
Brain Computer Culture SigmaPsiBrain: Iain Banks: Culture Series

I particularly remember one man who told me that his wife was annoying him because she was always telling him what to do. I asked him “what is she telling you to do”. He told me what she was forcing him to eat, and what she was forcing him to do (exercise). My comment to him was “the only reason you are alive is because of what your wife is telling you to do”. Your own choices are terrible.

As I stated before, social engineering is perhaps one of the most difficult aspects for us to face. It is very difficult to get an agreement among so many people for what we think a course of action should be. However this is not to say that we should not try. And it is not to say that there may even be an answer or even many answers to the problem.

We return to the scientific method. Define the problem.
Measure the problem. Initiate changes. Measure the effect of the changes.
Redefine the problem. Remeasure the problem. Reinitiate new changes.

And we have gone full circle.



KinkajouMed Kinkajou : What does this technology remind me of in Brisbane? :

The experience of the homeless in Brisbane is very different from the experiences of the homeless in the United States. Due to our social network, we have very few tent camps within the bounds of the cities within this country. A friend recently visited Hawaii. Hawaii is one of the US states with perhaps a lower homeless problem than many. (Compared to Los Angeles).

The Gold Coast near to Brisbane in Australia is to some extent a similar Surf-side city. The carparks in the high-rises are generally more open than those in Hawaii. One can usually attend and talk to someone in the office in a high-rise building on the Gold Coast, unlike in Hawaii. Yards are generally fully fenced in Hawaii, but not so on the Gold Coast.

All this is due to the homeless problem in Hawaii and similarly in other US cities. Throughout the US, people do not want to share their properties with the homeless. In Australia we simply do not have to. But of course this choice comes at a price.


KinkajouMed Kinkajou : Examples From Science Fiction referring to this technology:

Alan Dean Foster: Commonwealth series. The main nonhuman species in the Commonwealth are the Thranx. The Thranx are the chosen allies and partners of mankind. He makes the point of how much better they tend to look after their own than we do. The Individual has a responsibility to the hive and the hive has responsibility to individual.

This means that each individual exists within a web of reciprocal responsibilities which ensure that to some extent every individual is cared for by somebody but always has some responsibility for caring for all – in the being of the Hive. It may be a better model than we have. Our model accentuates the individual not the group. We tend to regard the poor and welfare recipients as having few social responsibilities.

We make the point on our ENK personality site, that the social aspect of humanity is controlled by its genes. If the human population did not have the self -pres gene it would be a very different animal indeed. A social humanity would have much less drive and much less independent effort than a self – pres humanity.

Gordon R Dixon: The Outposter. This author makes the point that it is our leaders who make the choices and give us the options. If  one leader does not stand within the flow and try to direct the traffic, the default choices we make may well represent simply the easiest and  most obvious path to take. It is understanding the consequences of the choices we make which help us to make other choices and to change the path that we follow.

James Blish: Cities In Flight - series. Cities of the earth rejected the socialist Hegemony which has enveloped the earth. In so doing, they opted to take their cities into space and to choose a new future for themselves.

Each city becomes responsible for the care of each of its citizens. While the communist model of care is important for many social responsibilities: e.g. health care, it removes incentive for personal effort with severe long term social consequences. Capitalism has its advantages, but has its faults as well.

Robert Adams: The Horse Clans - series. Proposes that the feudal system allows people to belong much better to the social milieu than the modern system of Anomie. In a feudal system each person is given responsibilities and rewards arising from their station within the social system. I believe that although feudalism has worked quite well within humanity’s past, it has many facets which make it unsuitable for working within the modern world.

We look at the social system existing within our world today, but we need to realise that our society  is as a result of the choices that we as a social group through the medium of our government, have made.

Yes the current social system downplays the role of marriage and the family. But that is because the rules downplay the role of marriage and the family. A de facto marriage has much the same rewards and responsibilities as a normal marriage. So what is the point of choosing one over the other.

The social institutions accept  that both exist and regard them as being of equal value . These are choices which the social milieu through the government has forced upon people. I think, through this example , that it becomes obvious, that we as a group can make many poor choices that we as a group are powerless or hopeless to change for the benefit of social group. Worst of all, correcting poor choices becomes  especially difficult once the “new” changes allow an incumbent group to develop to defend the new social structure.

Isaac Asimov: The Foundation - series. Humanity on earth is rapidly progressing into the enclosed cities or “Caves of Steel”. Humanity’s robots recognise that humanity is beginning to retreat from Space, and from the galaxy at large. The robots act to force humanity to leave the Earth, by engendering its eventual destruction. Homo galaxis is born.

Thomas Harlan: A Wasteland Of Flint. As the story opens, we see a capable captain with very limited options due to his limited social and political standing. He rails against injustice whereby he is likely to remain operating a small space vessel, while less capable subordinates surpass him in rank and achieve the command of much larger vessels.

Captain Chu-sa Hadeishi SigmaPsiCaptain Chu-sa Hadeishi

This is an interesting proposition. This scenario has existed for centuries in the British Empire. It has guaranteed that ineffective officers arise and gain influence commonly. I think it forms a good explanation for the repeated poor showing of the British so often in war over the centuries. Perhaps one of the most important consequences of the Anomie of our non- feudalistic modern era is the increased acceptance of reward purely for achievement. It matters not who you are, but more what you achieve.



Jerry Pournelle: the Janissaries - series. The author makes the point that achievement at all costs using any method possible may not be the wisest choice. Acting ethically may well be an important survival characteristic when one is embedded in a new place and forced to create new bonds and relationships. While luck certainly has a role to play in what we may achieve, it is often our own choices which maximise our gain or our loss.
Gwen University Planetary SigmaPsiGwen Tremaine

Paul O Williams: The Breaking of Northwall. Jestak the Pelbar is a very capable man who succeeds in uniting the peoples of the plains around Northwall. The point is well made here that often what we achieve often depends as much on our friends as ourselves. It is our bonds and relationships with others which support us and push us forward.
Jestak Pelbar Citizen Adventurer SigmaPsiJestak the Pelbar



KinkajouMed Kinkajou : Clever New Applications:

  • Psychohistory : (Asimov: Second Foundation style) or( Donald Kingsbury: Psychohistorical Crisis)

Learning the lessons of history and being able to see the consequences of one’s decisions is critical. Too often our decisions while they seem sensible to us are based on ideology: what is “right” without any real appreciation of the downfalls or consequences of particular decisions. We make changes, find problems, make changes, find problems, and then go back to a solution we or someone else has tried elsewhere with predictable consequences.
Hober Mallow Mayor Trader SigmaPsiHober Mallow



  • Financial Modelling: At the very least, if we make a decision we should be looking at the financial implications of what we are doing. People follow the money. So in Australia, if it is easier not to work and more profitable not too work, why bother? The “Anomie” of our society helps people to take actions that they may otherwise be ashamed to do in smaller communities where their neighbours hold them accountable for their actions. The Lowest Common Denominator: just follow the money because nothing else matters.

  • SimCity: A method of modelling activity or behaviour and looking at a number of particular variables as consequences of our actions. Modelling can be done at the city level and in more recent evolutions of this program at the family/individual level.

  • Social Points: we pay people for work. People earn money to spend on themselves so what not pay people in social points for socially responsible activities, that perhaps money does not recognise very well.
    An example is the large number of people working in then health sector that cannot really be remunerated adequately for what they do. As a description of what social points look like: a common scenario is someone who is very out there and social develops cancer. Everyone in the community turns up to help:  more so than for many more isolated member of our suburban villages.

  • Donald Kingsbury: Geta. Leaders build their constituency and are responsible for their constituency. Responsibility runs two ways: up and down. We are beholden to each other in a society. The role and power of a person in a society and their ability to make decisions is based solely on their constituency: their ability to influence and to make decisions for others. To what extent should a ZA (zero assets) person make decisions for all? He/she is responsible only for themselves and the welfare of no one else.

    Their decisions will tilt to the self not for the value of the group. The concept of the ZA as a class of displaced people in Neal Asher’s series shows how society can dispossess the many for the sake of a few, and this actually makes all of us poorer: with opportunity, more expensive goods and limits on the ways that people can work for each other.

  • World Trade: Has enabled all of us to work for each other. Whether rich or poor, we all benefit.  The poor benefit from innovation from the richer people/countries. The rich benefit from cheaper goods and work from the poor. In the last 40 years, the middle class has burgeoned on many countries throughout the world. Today, there are more people better off and less people openly living in poverty than at any time in history.

  • Scientific Principles: defined – measure – change – re-measure >> loop.
    If it can be defined and measured, we are at the first step of implementing scientific change. The scientific method is to experiment – to see what actually happens when we do something. Too often in many of our social implementations we fail to define and measure. We only focus on the answer.

    I remember a builder who came to work at a friend’s house. He lambasted my friend for buying too much timber wall sheeting. Why did you buy so much? You’ve wasted so much money buying all this stuff. You shouldn’t have done this.
    My friend nodded sagely and asked one question. How much do you think I should have purchased? The builder answered, “Where do you want to put it?”

    Unfortunately this type of approach defines human approach to social problems all too often. Ideology not science. Do what you do as you know we should do it, and hang the consequences.

    The biggest issue with defining the hopeless is that they are not a single entity. I have seen in some countries that are used the definition of the deserving poor and the undeserving poor. If you do not want to join the rat race, that is a valid choice. If you do not want to join the rat race and believe everyone else should pay to support you to do whatever you wish, that is something that needs to be defined as a non—valid choice.

    Who are the poor? Why are they poor? Will helping them actually make their problems worse – for example by allowing them to spend more money on drugs cigarettes or alcohol? If we aim to implement change – we need to understand the consequences of our own choices – how they work.