[Guest Post] The German Poverty Industry – by Chris

Translated from http://wohnstreik.blogsport.eu/?page_id=20

The poverty industry comprises those who promote our interests professionally (i.e., for money) when we face difficult times (economically or otherwise). Many people are very glad to have the poverty industry and would be much worse off without it.

What bothers me: Once I stand in for my own interests, I threaten someone’s job, so it is discouraged. To justify the salary of professionals, economic problems which affect many people are often reinterpreted into personal problems of the affected individuals.

Unfortunately, not everyone can decide for themselves whether to rely on this poverty industry or not. For example, unemployed people (and most homeless people are also unemployed) are threatened with sanctions in their “social integration agreement” (“Eingliederungsvereinbarung”) if they do not use services of the poverty industry. I.e., they are threatened with deductions from their already meager benefits, if they do not seek debt counseling or housing assistance services or participate in measures which are supposed to help them find an apartment.

Unlike unemployed people who defend their own interests, social institutions, such as Diakonie [welfare organisation of the protestant church], do not demand abolishment of these sanctions. Their maximum demand is less coercion and smaller sanctions.

I’m not participating in this. If someone wants to pay a social worker to nanny me, I’ll tell them: “Give me the money, and I’ll nanny myself, or leave me alone.” I don’t accept such services.


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