Jilara (jilara) wrote,

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Social Welfare by Kafka

The more I experience it, through various friends who have been unfortunate enough to end up in "the System," the more I am convinced that Kafka designed our present social welfare system. The only people I've known who have been good at dealing with the System have been of the "welfare queen" type, because to them, that's essentially their job, perfected over the years.

Even the privately-run stuff is screwy, though not as screwy as the government stuff. (It takes the government to take things to a whole different level.) I've lately been hearing about the perils of being down-and-out in Silicon Valley. Like shelters that make it essentially impossible to work or try to find work and have a place to bunk for the night, because they require you to be on-site during some hours you would be working, if you want to stay there that night. Or to get on a "bed list" you need to volunteer. "We can't give you a bed because you need to be doing volunteer work around here." "Yes, I was told to see you to get on the volunteer list, but you were never available." "So I can't help you." "But I'm talking to you now. I want to get on the list." "I'm not doing the list now. Come back sometime later."

The latest is "I just need to get in to clean out my locker, because I hear they're clearing lockers tomorrow." "I can't let you in because you're not on the bed list for tonight." "I haven't gotten a bed for two days because my name didn't come up in the lottery, but I need to get my stuff before it's thrown out." "I can't let you in because you're not on the list. You shouldn't keep stuff here if you're not here." "But I AM here. I've been trying to get a bed for two days. I just need to get my stuff." "I can't let you get your stuff because you're not on the list..." And so on.

I'm convinced that the system is actually designed with punishment in mind. It's trying to force you into a position at rock bottom, and keep you there, because if you're poor, by gum, you must have done something to deserve it! Interestingly enough, the friend who is telling me about this said that when he started wearing a Cadence T-shirt I gave him, he found out there were several former Cadence employees there, who bottomed out with the economy, and have never come back up. Apparently, there are also a lot of unemployed former web designers and IT people. Once again, at least my friend has a small support network---what happens to people who don't? We're not talking substance abusers, people with psych problems, etc. We're just talking regular folks fallen on bad times. What happens to people who don't have any backup network at all? I probably don't want to know the answer, but I have to ask the question...

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