How did being poor effect your friendships?

Answered Feb 6, 2020

Being poor often means being in poor environments, surrounded by other poor people.

There is a huge division between the working poor, and the non-working poor.

These environments have some decent, hard-working, civilised, functioning adults with realistic views of life, who just happen to have low income and assets. They may be very guarded, with low time and availability.

However, these environments are largely filled with scummy, unemployable, out-of-control, overgrown toddlers who are trying to leach off of, and prey upon members of the previous group. They have very high amounts of time and energy for this. And are highly available for new “friendships” (or for implications of romantic “love”).

When you are in the first group, the mere fact of being employed puts a big concentric-circles target on you. No matter how low your paycheque, bank balance, or possessions. The parasites tend to fantasise that you “really” have a limitless amount of resources. And they will do anything to extract those resources.

When you are struggling to work for your basic shelter, food, etc necessities, they will expect you to cough up the cash for them to buy luxuries.

If you own a car (even if it barely runs), they will treat you like their personal, on-demand, free limousine. They will call you at work, expecting you to drop everything, and come give them a ride.

Some will expect 100% total financial support. Such as living in your home, rent-free, while they trash the place and bring their homeless “friends” over. Others expect you to pay their entire rent every month on a separate apartment, buy expensive food, etc, etc.

Some have drug habits that they expect you to enable, because they are entitled to a co-dependent enabler.

Some are on welfare benefits (including disability and old-age type), on which they can survive. But they feel entitled to a luxury lifestyle, funded by you. Others don’t even have their act together to fill out a welfare application and attend an appointment. And so you will be their personal welfare agency.

They will give any sob-story they can think of. They will tell you any lie they can think of. They will be ingratiating, telling you what a great “friend” you suddenly are, very soon after meeting (as soon as the first conversation). They will engage in sexual come-ons (resentfully, and without any intention of following through).

If you try to be their friend, while setting boundaries, they will never respect those boundaries. If you persist with boundaries (e.g. “No, I don’t have any money to give you”), they will become increasingly agitated. They may become openly hateful. Some may try to steal from you. Some will escalate to physical aggression.

Some of these people are engaged in constant crime, creating risks to anyone who associates with them.

Some of them have an extremely impaired concept of actions leading to consequences (even after the consequences have happened). And extremely impaired ability to plan, to think of appropriate behaviours and solutions, or to rationally predict which actions lead to which consequences.

They may take the attitude that, there are two options. First, for you to provide enough (i.e. infinite) resources to lift them out of the gutter. Or, failing that, their recourse is to forceably drag you into the gutter with them.

They will hold you personally responsible for every “need” that they claim to have. They will also hold you personally responsible for every dissatisfaction or problem they ever had. Including dissatisfactions and problems going on for years before you met them.

They believe that you have already promised them a free, easy, zero-stress, zero-responsibility fun life. Simply because you started out being open to possible “friendship”.

They are frustrated and angry that you are maliciously impairing their access to the infinite pile of money and other resources which they see as rightfully, already theirs.

When you are working poor, you may have high exposure to these people, due to the poor environment in which they are concentrated.

These people may kill off your empathy, and incite you to become just as self-centred and uncaring as them. Except that you will be motivated by legitimate self-protection/defense.

When you are decent, civilised working poor, openness to “friendship” (or to sexual relationships) is generally very dangerous. It is vital to learn to be very closed-off, and very quick to dismiss people when you see red-flags of parasitism. This mindset can still effect you years later, even if you work your way into less impoverished/desperate environments.

An interesting point is that, some of the scumbags actually come from very coddling backgrounds. Including with indulgent middle-class parents. That is where they learned their sense of entitlement, and failure to understand real-world adult consequences.

What’s something you can’t believe you had to explain to another adult?

Updated Fri, Dec 27, 2019

So many things I have found myself explaining to (alleged) adults…

  • It is possible for an adult to live someplace that is a long distance from the town where they were born, or from anywhere they lived as a child. Actually living in that place, not merely a brief, temporary vacation.
  • Extended from the previous item, it is possible for an adult to pack up and move to a new town, city, state/province, or even country. To actually live, not a vacation.
  • The US military has a pervasive practice of requiring servicemembers (and, by extension, their children) to pack up and move to new places, long distances, repeatedly. It is normal within the context.
  • There are other job fields involving high rates of geographic mobility. Which results in children becoming accustomed to the concept of relocation.
  • When an adult relocates to another country, she will generally continue speaking with an accent from her original country. It doesn’t instantly change, and she isn’t obligated to change it. She gets tired of hearing, “You have an accent” over and over. Also, claiming that, native-born New Zealanders don’t speak with any accent is totally ignorant.
  • Some people’s parents don’t live together. Or anywhere near each other.
  • If you are eighteen, and your mother is moving to rural NothingTown, with very poor job prospects, it is reasonable and legitimate to move a long distance to your father, who lives in a city with much better job prospects. There is nothing wrong with this, and it is the mature, responsible thing for some people to do.
  • There are eighteen-year-olds who are mature and responsible enough to be living completely independently of their parents, voluntarily. Working, paying the rent, etc. And, being eighteen, they are legally adults, and within their rights to act like it. Some people have to start supporting themselves younger than that.
  • It is possible for an adult to live a long distance from her mother, and to be quite satisfied with that situation.
  • Extended from previous item, it is possible for an adult to permanently refuse any contact of any kind with her mother. And to be quite satisfied with that situation.
  • There are mothers who don’t love their children. There are mothers who physically beat their children in a manner that constitutes a crime. Denial and victim-blaming are completely inappropriate, and make you into a moral accomplice to the abuse.
  • It is possible to travel to an unfamiliar area, whether across town, or to a new city. And to navigate one’s self, without another person giving directions. This involves the use of a thing called a map, which some people actually possess the basic skill to use.
  • Rubbish and recycling pickup may be scheduled for very early in the morning (so the truck is no longer blocking the street by the time people are driving to work). A neighbour knew this, since she stated that, she had attempted to put her rubbish out on the way to work, but the truck had already been past. It happened at least twice. She saw me placing my rubbish out on the evening before pickup day, and said, “That’s a really good idea”. She hadn’t bothered to read the printing on the official council bags that said you could put them out starting 5PM the evening before. She was in her 40s, and my guess had been dependent on her now-former husband for this simple task and knowledge.
  • When at a retail store, you may need to wait your turn in line to checkout. Barging up to the counter, demanding that the cashier stop in the middle of a transaction with the person ahead of you, and let you proceed first, is unrealistic.
  • There are jobs that pay more than minimum wage. Often in exchange for more than minimum effort, skills, and attitude.
  • There are jobs that pay for more than 8 hours x 5 days/week of work. This is perfectly legal (with some safety limitations, e.g. transportation), and there are employees who are actually willing to do this. The fact that you aren’t willing to do so is irrelevant.
  • There are jobs (e.g. courier services) that involve physically going to different locations throughout the day. Including on-demand orders, without any fixed route or pre-set itinerary. The worker may even go to locations that she has never been to previously (see item regarding maps). The fact that you cannot psychologically handle such a job is irrelevant.
  • There are jobs that pay on productivity (commission, piecework, etc), without any hourly wage. And, with some of these jobs, it is possible to earn enough money to support one’s self. The fact that you don’t feel willing or able to do so is irrelevant.
  • Even on an hourly wage, it is reasonable that an employer will expect you get a commensurate dollar-value worth of work done. There isn’t any rule requiring them to pay you to just show up and sit around all day long.
  • There are jobs that involve working at night, so the person must sleep during the day. Calling them on the phone in the daytime, and being informed that you woke them from sleep, does not somehow indicate that they are lazy.
  • Generally, a telephone is not a leash for you to randomly jerk. If you call an acquaintance, or your “booty-call” person, without prior agreement, you might receive the voicemail, for a variety of reasons. Acting offended or victimsed is inappropriate.
  • Depending on income and expenses, it is possible to put a portion of one’s income into a savings account, and leave it there. Then gradually build up savings over time. Without just compulsively spending every dollar between paycheques.
  • When someone requires her car to get to work, or during the workday, she should prioritise finances to keep it running. Saving aside money for the next possible repair does not mean she “wants” the car to break down. It also does not mean she chooses to be constantly miserable.
  • Buying lottery tickets is a very poor strategy for attempting to improve one’s finances, or to pursue financial goals. Claiming that it is the only viable strategy, and denigrating someone who doesn’t buy lottery tickets is inappropriate.
  • Some people live in bad neighbourhoods because they are working poor with a low income. Not because they are somehow bad people who enjoy the atmosphere. Not everyone can afford to live in a nice, middle-class neighbourhood.
  • There are adults who can not simply call the Bank Of Mommy And Daddy for a withdrawal anytime they are short on cash. And this does not automatically make them bad people.
  • There are people who don’t use any recreational/addictive drugs, and don’t drink alcohol to excess.
  • When you openly throw large numbers of cigarette butts around the outside of a small apartment building, your neighbours have the right to react negatively. This includes when your butts keep landing in your neighbour’s vegetable garden. When you flick still-burning butts onto the grass, you are creating a fire hazard. Don’t lie and claim that they aren’t your butts, when you do it openly, are the only person in the building who smokes, and there is a trail from your parking space to your door.
  • Some people have views on religion that are different to yours. For example, some don’t believe in any god or afterlife. And that doesn’t automatically make them evil or dangerous.
  • People have the right to refuse to have sex with you. In a specific manner, on a specific occasion, or at all. They have the right to assert boundaries (sexual or otherwise) within a sexual relationship, including the right to unilaterally terminate the relationship. I once explained this to a middle-aged woman, who still refused to understand.
  • Within a relationship, a person has the right to respond negatively when you attempt sexual coercion or assault. Including dumping you to prevent a repeat.
  • Ordering your sex partner (“booty-call”) to barge into her doctor’s office, and coerce a prescription for magical breast-enlargement pills is inappropriate. She isn’t somehow victimsing you by refusing to comply with this demand.
  • There are some females who sexually abuse and assault (sexually and/or non-sexually) their female partners. Denial and victim-blaming are completely inappropriate, and make you into a moral accomplice to the abuse.
  • There are people who socialise and try to meet new people for platonic friendships, and not necessarily for sexual relationships.
  • People have the right to refuse to be friends with someone they don’t like.
  • If you want to establish or maintain a friendship or relationship, it is reasonable that you will be required to contribute positively to the other person’s life. And required to not use or abuse them. See previous items.
  • When meeting a new person socially, immediately saying, “I can only talk to you if you promise that, anytime I tell you to do something, you will do it”, is a very poor strategy for making new friends.
  • Empathy, kindness, openness, and generosity are not a deliberate invitation to use and abuse the person. Those things are also limited, and may be exhausted or withdrawn.
  • It is reasonable to pay one’s credit card and other bills, in order to maintain a positive credit history, which is a valuable thing to have.
  • In a classroom full of adult students, it is reasonable to expect them to behave in a civilised, respectful manner. Such a not continuously carrying on irrelevant conversations at the top of their lungs. A more civilised student has the right to respond negatively to out-of-control classmates who degrade the education for which she is paying in money/time/stress.
  • There are people who don’t attend any formal schooling as children, and who still learn the same amounts and types of skills and information. Such as partly being taught (e.g. a parent teaching the child to read), and also by independently reading and studying.
  • Don’t physically touch an acquaintance, classmate, coworker, etc, without their consent. They have the right to respond negatively if you do this.
  • There are women who have never done sexual activity in exchange for money.
  • There are women who never have any children, and are quite satisfied with being childfree. And this is not a deliberate affront against you. There is zero obligation to have unplanned children just because somebody else did.
  • There are women who remain single (not married or partnered), without just desperately marrying/partnering with any random available person.
  • It isn’t reasonable or realistic to expect people to just hand you resources, merely because you believe that they possess those resources.
  • The fact that a person has a job does not automatically mean that they can afford to, or are obligated to, hand you any amount of cash you feel entitled to.
  • The fact that another person possesses a car does not automatically make them your personal, on-demand, free limousine.
  • When you are a passenger in a moving car, it is highly inappropriate to suddenly waive your hand in the driver’s face, so that she has to quickly jerk her head back to avoid being hit. When I was a teenager, I had to explain this to my middle-aged mother.
  • When you are living on someone else’s couch, openly abusing and threatening them is conducive to being thrown out on the street. If you don’t like the conditions, rules, or host, your recourse is to go out and find a living situation that you feel is more satisfactory.
  • When you threaten to commit a violent crime against someone, it is reasonable to expect that they will take steps to avoid that. Which may include contacting the police.
  • Physically beating someone is still a crime, even if you don’t put them in the hospital.
  • There exist people who actually will start an unprovoked confrontation with a stranger on the street, which may escalate to an unprovoked physical assault. Denial and victim-blaming are completely inappropriate.
  • If you want to reduce your future chances of arrest and incarceration, you should consider reducing the amount of idiotic crimes that you commit.
  • Your manner of dress and hairstyle will affect your chances of being hired for a job. Deliberately wearing dirty clothes, refusing to bathe daily (despite access to facilities), and stinking up the area will affect many people’s willingness to interact with you in any way.
  • If you walk into a store and attempt to steal something, the employees and owner have a reasonable position to prevent you from doing so, or to otherwise respond negatively.
  • Your drug problem is just that – yours. Other people don’t just exist to enable you.
  • If you approach a taxicab driver, wanting a free ride, it is reasonable that s/he will refuse. If you take a cab ride and then evade payment, it is reasonable for the driver to respond negatively. If s/he suspects that you are likely to do this, there are regulations stating that s/he may require an estimated payment before the trip starts.
  • There are passengers who take taxicab rides to score drugs. And, no, driving them to the police station isn’t a smart idea. And some other passengers will rob and/or assault the driver, who has the right to be paranoid.
  • It is possible and allowable for a middle-aged person to go to university.
  • It is possible for a person to learn new skills and procedures, for a new job.
  • It is viable to live in an apartment that consists of a single room plus bathroom. It is possible to sleep and to prepare food in the same room. And no, this is not somehow equivalent to living in a cardboard box on the street.
  • Stealth camping on public land, for an extended period, is a viable option for some people.
  • It is possible to resign from a job for legitimate reasons, and is not automatically lazy or irresponsible. For example, moving to another city, enrolling at university, or just getting a better job.
  • If your employer is having lowered profits, and shrinking (e.g. a retail chain that shuts down some store locations), it is perfectly legal for them to make you redundant/laid-off, and no longer employed there. You can lose your job without personally doing anything wrong, and you have zero recourse.
  • The fact that someone else feels stuck in a job they hate, or a location they don’t like, or other miserable life situation, does not obligate everyone else to set their lives up that way.
  • Openly insulting someone you just met is not a good way to make friends and receive admiration.
  • Demanding financial information, medical information, or similar private information from someone you just met socially is inappropriate.
  • A person’s money is theirs, to use in the manner that they choose, without being dictated to by some random acquaintance, such as you.
  • A person’s time, physical body (including medical care), sexuality, physical appearance, and tastes/preferences belong entirely to them, without being dictated to by some random acquaintance, such as you.
  • People have the right to walk down a public street, minding their own business. The fact that you don’t like their physical appearance is irrelevant.
  • It is viable to live without owning a television set. Including long before the World Wide Web or video streaming were invented. Even with a computer, it is viable to simply not watch mass-market television shows. There are actually other activities that can be done in one’s leisure time.
  • There are adults who voluntarily read books, nonfiction, adult-level. Some people actually enjoy reading.
  • When you blatantly lie to someone, it is reasonable that they will never trust you on that issue, or anything else.
  • The limits of your life are yours. What you have or haven’t experienced or witnessed, what you feel capable of, etc, are not the universal limits of everyone else’s life.
  • There is only one guarantee in life – that it will eventually end. Everything else involves some level of ambiguity. And that fact is not a personal vicitimisation against you.
  • Different behaviours are conducive to different results. Things don’t just “happen”.

In some cases, multiple different items above were explained to one person. Some items were explained to multiple different people.

Even when explaining these principles, some people still didn’t comprehend. Some adamantly argued, and insisted that I was the ignorant one.

Why are there so many homeless people in San Francisco?

Updated Oct 8, 2019

It’s partly about two physical layout issues – one general, and one specific. Plus a perceptual issue.

San Francisco is very compact and crowded. Lots of very different people, crammed into a relatively small space. Many of whom take public transport, and also walk around. This includes tourists and other visitors.

Walk down Market Street during the daytime. You will see a large number of people, of all kinds. You won’t necessarily really register and remember the large number of yuppies, hipsters, tourists, etc that you pass by. But, disheveled-looking bums hanging around, aggressive beggars, visible drug use, urination, etc, will make a much stronger impression. Even if that is a relatively small per-capita percentage of the city’s population.

Compare that to a view of Los Angeles, where everything and everyone is spread out. And that view may also be through the windows of a car (including if you are a tourist or other visitor).

Next is the specific location of homeless services, such as soup kitchens, and many of the SRO buildings that San Francisco uses to warehouse the homeless and borderline-homeless. And, of course, some of the street corners where you can openly buy crack and heroin. You can also do various activities such as sleeping or defecating on the sidewalk, without being in front of the homes of any yuppies who might complain to police. This concentration is a charming neighbourhood called the Tenderloin district.

The Tenderloin is conveniently located a very short walk from Market Street. Including the Market and Powell cable car turnaround, which attracts large numbers of tourists. It’s also next to the Financial District, as well as the areas where a visitor might pass through on the way to Chinatown and to North Beach. Spare any change?

In contrast, the Los Angeles Skid Row district (with soup kitchens, shelters, etc) is located very far away from LA’s tourist attractions and other places for visitors. It is also segregated from the middle class, affluent, and struggling-hipster residential neighborhoods.

This leads to a difference of exposure.

With that said, I also agree with many of the other factors in the other answers here.

What is it like to move to a big city from a small town and what are good tips on adjusting?

Answered Jul 27, 2019

Get ready to be surprised by some mind-boggling, willfully-ignorant, small-minded attitudes.

This includes from people who have spent their entire lives in the suburbs of a major city. I know that I seem to belabour this point, but it is heavily female-biased.

Even in “the big city”, many, many women assume that, every person just lives their whole life stuck in one town. Or even just one particular suburban area.

I met people in Orange County, California, who acted like “going to LA” was a special occasion. Or that, going to any unfamiliar area inside the local area would be a disorienting, frightening experience.

There are people in big-city areas who literally don’t know how to use a street map to get to the suburbs on the other side of town. It should be a basic skill, but many actually lack it. To the point where, they are unaware that anyone has that skill.

Then, add on the psychological/social factors. Some people will actually insist that every “adult” stays in whatever town where their mother lives. With zero other factors under consideration. This is one of the female-biased points.

There is a mindset that, any kind of new environment, especially without any familiar people, would just be impossible to withstand.

Then, add on the ignorance of how different other places are. I met people in Los Angeles who couldn’t comprehend, “Smallville has very poor job prospects and mass poverty, and zero educational prospects”. Or maybe they just didn’t care, since they weren’t the one being told that they would inevitably “have to go back” to Smallville.

And, speaking of “have to go back”, you can expect to hear those words decades after you escaped Smallville, without even any visits back there. You will still be treated like you are on vacation.

There are people who simply cannot comprehend that, someone might have moved around repeatedly, long distances, as a child, and so doesn’t have a fixed “hometown”. There are people who cannot comprehend that, your Mommy’s location isn’t your personal “hometown”. Because they cannot comprehend that, anyone’s parents ever relocated.

Some women (that bias again) take the attitude that, the “right” thing to do, is to just draw a twenty-kilometre radius from your birthplace (and/or Mommy’s house), and just accept that that is your world. What is or isn’t available in that tiny world isn’t seen as relevant.

This includes “right” thing in terms of “common sense”, as if every reasonable, rational person would agree.

It also includes “right” thing in terms of morality. Which is a euphemism for dissuading you from doing anything positive with your life that someone else feels too incompetent and/or afraid to do.

Is it right to tell a 19-year-old son that he has to pay rent?

Updated Jul 28, 2019

It depends on the individual circumstances and attitude.

When I was 18, I moved from my mother to my father, specifically to be in an area with better job prospects. And was living on the lounge floor of his cheap apartment.

His rent stayed the same when I moved in. I used very little electricity, and ate modestly. I had arrived with only a carload of physical possessions, and was quiet and low-impact. I cleaned up after myself, etc.

I went out and got a physically demanding factory job for minimum wage, and started paying for the petrol for a long work commute. Aside from shelter/electricity/food, I paid for anything else I wanted/needed. There were basically zero luxuries. Most of my income went into a savings account.

I knew that, the “free” roof over my head was very temporary. And was focused on working and saving to get started with total independence.

And nobody had ever had to tell me to do this. Nobody ever had to tell me that, adult responsibility was approaching. It was just patently obvious to me.

After just a few months, when I was still eighteen, my father and I parted ways. The demarcation point was his relocation to another city, and my voluntary choice to move to a different other city (since adults don’t have to get dragged around every time a parent moves). And I started completely, 100% supporting myself. I think he sent me a cheque for $50 for Christmas, on one occasion when I was about 20, and nothing else ever again.

It never occurred to me to try to live with either parent past age eighteen. I haven’t even been located anywhere near either of them in thirty years. In that time, I have been all the way down to homeless, and it was still never a possibility to go crawling back to either of them. (Their bad attitudes about how I choose to live my adult life also made that idea unviable from a very early point).

And that wasn’t nearly as hard as some people have it.

One of the coolest human beings I’ve ever known, started working, paying rent, living independently of parents, at age fifteen. And she never felt at all sorry for herself over it, and mainly described it as a challenge that she rose up to deal with, and to then go much further in life.

On the other hand, there seem to be plenty of pseudo-”adults” who feel zero sense of responsibility for supporting themselves. They feel entitled to act as if they were totally independent and in-control, while living rent-free under someone else’s roof. On and on and on, all the way to expecting a permanent, lifetime free ride.

Some of these pseudo-adults are well past the age of eighteen. And some are willfully ignorant of how much things like shelter, food, transportation, etc, cost. Some are even in denial that, obtaining money requires an employed person to expend great time and effort, whether s/he likes it or not. They think resources just magically appear.

Some may work, but then see the “free” shelter, food, etc, as enabling them to blow all of their own earnings on luxuries (video games, junk food, partying, etc, etc).

I have encountered multiple individuals who thought that, they were going to find someone who was NOT their parent or their spouse/partner, who would serve as permanent, limitless host to an openly abusive, hateful little parasite. They called this concept “friendship”.

TL;DR:

I had to pay rent when I was nineteen. Because, at that age, I was already living in my own (modest, one-room) apartment. In a low-rent, high-crime neighbourhood (thousands of kilometres away from either parent). Fully self-supporting, working long hours at a regular, demanding, grownup job.

If your young-adult offspring is living with you, then it needs to be his/her priority to either work or pursue higher education.

If working, s/he should be exercising restraint by putting some money into savings. And also accepting responsibility for at least some expenses, such as petrol, lunch food, etc.

On one hand, charging rent could emphasise the fact that basic needs cost money, and that they will have to pay eventually. It can also make staying with parents less appealing, and prompting them towards independence.

On the other hand, if they are already working towards independence, charging rent could backfire, by making it harder and more time-consuming to save up to move out.

I would be inclined to only suggest a “pay rent or get out” ultimatum if the individual is abusing the “free” shelter situation for an extended period of time.

At that point, if they don’t like the situation, they can go out and pay rent to a real-world landlord, who may charge far more, provide far more modest conditions, and be far less tolerant than Mommy and Daddy.

If you absolutely can’t stand the thought of anyone being homeless, and you run a homeless shelter, do you kick people out when they find a job and are able to afford some kind of rent?

Updated Jul 27, 2019

I didn’t work there, but saw how things operated.

It was very small in “shelter” terms – Just a house with 9 bedrooms.

It also wasn’t free. They ran it with the micromanaging, condescending. thinly-disguised-contemptuous attitude as if it were a free shelter, but actually charged rent. The amount was seriously overpriced for the conditions (crowding, micromanaging etc).

However, they didn’t view the residents as paying customers. Because the general model was for the government welfare department to pay the residents’ dole directly to this place. The residents were all viewed as bludgers, (primarily welfare mothers), with the welfare department being the actual customer. And yes, the welfare mothers crammed as many as three or four children into the room with them. Said children were being raised poorly, and will likely repeat the cycle in another ten years or so.

It was all about chronic dependency. People for whom the term, “no-hoper” was invented. Higher education, or even basic, minimal employment just weren’t on the radar for these people.

They called the people living there “residents”, not “tenants”, and that wasn’t just to be polite or friendly.

The rent was probably set at the maximum they could get based on either welfare regulations, or just the maximum to where the residents had just barely anything left over.

Stays were theoretically for a maximum of three months, but there were suggestions that they didn’t actually enforce this.

They provided a room and food. Residents had to buy their own soap, toothpaste, transportation, etc., with the small amount left over after the rent.

You would have been in very serious difficulty if you had any one-time or ongoing medical costs.

This place acted like they were doing people a personal favour by allowing people to live there. It was owned by some allegedly religious entity, and the abusive manager claimed to be religious. But it was really a business, profiting off of fleecing desperate people.

The deal included rotating duties of cooking dinner, and also cleaning common areas (bathrooms, kitchen, dining room, etc), as a condition of living there. Which meant that, a childfree resident had to clean up the daily mess made by other people’s children.

It also included a level of micromanaging rules that no normal landlord could get away with. No visitors in your room, no booze, all kinds of intrusive questions (including finances and medical information) and “here is what you are going to do about your pathetic situation”.

One command was to apply for long-term welfare housing (with a very long waiting list), with the expectation of long-term welfare dependence.

Another command was to see a “budget counselor”, who would demand a detailed accounting of every dollar you received and spent. So that they could dictate what you were allowed to buy.

The manager and a night supervisor (i.e. adult babysitter) actually reacted negatively towards a resident who got a part-time job.

They lied (because they were generally dishonest and disrespectful). Manager claimed that, the job was willful misbehaviour, because it allegedly distracted said resident from “dealing with” a recent bereavement. Babysitter claimed that, said resident wasn’t mentally fit to be working at a job with other people. It was absolute gaslighting.

The manager confronted the resident, and stated that, a condition of continuing to live there was to get diagnosed with a psychiatric disability, and apply for disability welfare benefits. Despite the fact that said resident was working part-time and attending university part-time, and was a sane, rational, reasonably-functioning person. The manager wanted this person to just give up on life, throw away any future potential, and become one of the totally dependent no-hopers.

It was a blatant attempt at gaslighting a person who happened to be having a very sad moment in life.

Why the negative reaction? My guess is a few reasons:

  1. When a person receives over a certain income from working, the welfare department penalises their dole. This could result in that benefit being lower than the rent amount. Which would mean that, this place would need to arrange for the resident to directly pay some or all of the rent. With the risk of non-payment.
  2. There may have been the idea of a disability benefit paying more money, which the facility could take, based on allegedly providing more services (i.e. micromanaging). And/or the idea of demanding that, the tenant’s entire benefit be paid directly to the manager of the facility, since you can’t trust crazy people with money.
  3. A working person would have a position to feel like a paying customer. With expectations and standards. Like objecting to the poor conditions, and the bad behaviour and attitudes of the other residents and their children.
  4. A person who was working, with good credit history, zero criminal history, zero eviction history, generally adult functioning, childfree, and only low-income due to being a university student… just did not fit with the business model, or the contemptuous mental model of residents.
  5. Said person might actually have other alternatives, and might not be such an easy target for financial exploitation.
  6. There was always at least one empty room in the house. So, if someone moved out (due to working and/or refusing to tolerate the conditions), they couldn’t just reload the room with another profit-making resident.
  7. A working person didn’t “fit in” with the other residents. One of whom tried to instigate conflict based on envy and tall poppy syndrome.

This place actually wanted people who were shut out of education, jobs, and regular housing rentals. They wanted people who had/perceived zero other options. Who were terrified of being booted out on the street. And who would submit to bullying and micromanagement, while being used for revenue.

If mankind hit a maximum population limit, will we resort to “population control”? Or will we have enough time to expand to other worlds before it gets to that point?

Answered Jul 5, 2019

First, you can forget about the “expand to other worlds” idea.

Space travel is hugely expensive, in money, technology, and time. It is a major set of problems just to get a car-sized machine to the Moon or to Mars.

For humans, space travel is also dangerous, from launching a rocket, to landing, to the reliance on life-support systems, to the long-term effects of low-gravity, radiation, and living inside vehicles, stations, etc.

If you go to the Moon or Mars, you need to bring all of your resources with you, to last your entire stay. Hugely expensive to get it all there, even for just a few days visit. Uncrewed resupply craft are expensive, take a long time to reach Mars, and might crash or otherwise be lost.

Changing the atmosphere on the Moon or Mars (so you could go outdoors without a spacesuit) would take enormous physical resources, and centuries of time, and may be physically impossible. Temperatures and radiation may also be insurmountable issues. Living permanently inside protective structures would be extremely expensive.

As I understand it, chemical analysis of Martian soil suggests that it might be impossible to ever grow plants or fungi in it.

There are fantasies of geological mining of the Moon and Mars. Which would require hugely expensive machinery and other resources, which make Earthly colonisation and resource-extraction (e.g. centuries-past North America and Africa) look cheap and easy by comparison.

Forget about the other planets and their moons. Heat, radiation, pressures, toxic gasses, planets made entirely of gasses, or solid but really cold planets and moons.

Forget about ever visiting any planet outside our solar system. The distances are too great, the expenses too high, and the timeframe too long.

So, back to the real world…

Maximum population is contextual, in place, time, and technology.

This was described back in 1798, by Thomas Malthus. The idea is that, population control is a natural, universal mechanism, affecting all life-forms.

Malthus observed that, population numbers increase based on food supply. This can be plants with plentiful space/water/nutrients, herbivores with plentiful plants available, or carnivores with plentiful prey available. It can also be humans with increasing agricultural efficiency and technology.

While microbiology wasn’t understood in Malthus’s time, the principle includes single-celled organisms, which have a common growth curve of increasing exponentially, and then leveling off.

The population will increase to the contextual maximum, where everyone is just barely obtaining/producing enough to survive.

Then, there are two suppressing scenarios:

  1. Something reduces the food supply at some level of the food chain or food web. It could be an especially harsh winter, or an extended drought, or a disease of plants or animals. Starvation ensues.
  2. The food supply remains stable, but the population compulsively keeps reproducing/expanding, and overshoots the supply. Starvation ensues.

This may be cyclic. Food-suppressing events like weather and diseases will occur either yearly, or repeatedly over a longer timeframe. Humans improve technologically, overshoot the population, and suffer until the next big improvement.

There may be hard, regional or global upper limits on food production, fresh waters, etc. Where humans will never be able to improve efficiency past the Earth’s “carrying capacity”.

Another suppressor is communicable diseases.

Increased population leads to increased crowding, leads to increased disease transmission. Anything from the medieval plagues to the 1918 influenza could replay. Global warming may increase the geographic range of malaria-carrying mosquitoes.

High-intensity farming (to feed the current overpopulation) may increase the risk of microbial diseases of plant crops and animal livestock, leading to famine, and starvation of humans.

Another pressure is interspecies and intraspecies competition. A slightly more efficient (for the particular environment) species may out-compete other species, who may then starve. Animals – either individuals or groups – may compete with others of their same species.

The highest level of this is human warfare, which is always (either overtly or thinly disguised) economically motivated. Humans fight over farmland, water, or natural resources (oil, mining, forestry, fishing) which can be used or sold. Which ultimately leads to food and other means to support the population numbers of a particular country or tribe.

Even losing sides can do great damage. This includes ancient retreating armies pouring NaCl salt onto the ground, to impair future farming use, up to modern retreating armies setting oil wells on fire.

Conflicts which are ostensibly about religion or ethnicity are really just using those characteristics to organise and motivate groups for economic competition over natural resources.

In warfare, both sides will have many people killed, or die from degraded conditions, including starvation, diseases, etc. The losers may be completely genocided.

Warfare can be a means of increasing one’s own tribal population. However, it can also result in mass burning-off of surplus impoverished young males (i.e. “cannon fodder”).

Another aggressive angle is China’s “one-child policy”. It seems abusive and micromanaging, but the alternative is, ultimately, mass starvation. China has a mismatch of a high percentage of the world’s people, and relatively low percentage of the world’s farmland.

A gentler angle is advancements in contraception technology and distribution of it. Personally, I strongly support government efforts for free, easy contraception to anyone and everyone who will accept it. Anything from handing out condoms to offering cash payments for welfare recipients to get long-term implants or permanent sterilisation.

All of this sounds somewhat unpleasant to some people. But those people cannot imagine how unpleasant things would be with 20 billion humans on the only planet we will ever have.

And, lest anyone think to accuse me of any kind of hypocrisy or snobbery… I am childfree, never wanted any sprogs, and going to stay that way. At an age and condition where I actually do know what I am talking about on that.

Why do people have more children when a big family is financially not viable?

Answered Jun 28, 2018

Originally Answered: Why do poor people have many children even though they cannot afford to raise them well? · 

A few reasons, which relate to each other.

  • There is a pervasive assumption that, everyone has children. That it is just an automatic part of a standard, universal life-trajectory. This assumption is present all across the economic spectrum. I have met adult women who acted confused upon encountering a middle-aged person who simply didn’t have any kids. Lack of desire to have them, lack of a spouse/partner, lack of support systems, and lack of money just weren’t seen as meaningful factors.
  • Having children at an early age (e.g under 25) is highly conducive to being and remaining poor. The existing child impairs the parent’s (usually the mother’s) ability to work in paid employment, or to pursue higher education.
  • Peer pressure from other young people making bad reproductive choices.
  • Lack of positive role-models, such as women who were able to better their lives by not having any children early (or at all).
  • Poor people may have received low-quality education in high school, including basic sex education.
  • There may be some correlation between poverty and religion. Which may degrade sex education.
  • Assumptions of being able to rely on extended family for money, housing, food, free childcare and other resources. A related point is some cultures (e.g. pacific islanders) have a combination of high poverty rates, high reproductive rates, and willingness to cram excessive numbers of people (including multiple related families) into crowded, unhealthy housing.
  • Assumptions of being able to rely on the baby-daddy for child support payments.
  • Poverty is correlated with having unstable relationships, which may include the aforementioned baby-daddy (or multiple baby-daddies) failing to contribute financially. Thereby perpetuating the poverty for the single mother and children.
  • The unstable relationships may lead to the idea of bonding with the current partner by having a child together, despite having children from previous relationships.
  • Lack of planning and self-control is conducive to being and remaining poor. And is also conducive to having unplanned children.
  • Poverty recycles, with numerous mechanisms. Including the intelligence impact of poor nutrition, maternal smoking/drinking, etc. This may lead the poor child to grow into an adolescent or young adult with poor planning and self-control, leading to another generation of poor children.
  • Some of the answers here mention that, contraception is too expensive for poor people. However, if you cannot afford contraception, then you certainly cannot afford multiple children. It comes down to self-control.
  • Plenty of children are conceived after the parents-to-be have had a little too much alcohol, and aren’t thinking very clearly. This applies across the economic spectrum, although problematic alcohol consumption may somewhat correlate with poverty.
  • Magical thinking, and black-and-white thinking, regarding actions→consequences. The person has unprotected sex repeatedly, without any resulting pregnancy. They then conclude that the two things aren’t really connected. Or may assume themselves to be infertile.
  • Lack of anticipation of how severely a child will restrict their lives.
  • Lack of anticipation of how much a child costs to support.
  • Availability of welfare benefits. Including multi-generational welfare dependence, and social environments where such dependence is normalised.
  • Pervasive social attitudes that it is somehow oppressive (or at least politically incorrect) to openly state that people shouldn’t be having children they cannot afford.
  • The first unplanned child is generally the one with the largest life-derailing effect (e.g. inability to work or pursue education). After that line is crossed, having an additional child isn’t seen as having as much incremental effect. So there may be less motivation to avoid having additional children.

What are some things that wealthy/privileged people believe about the working-class/poor that are untrue?

Updated Jun 29, 2019

Many misconceptions don’t just come from wealthy people, but also from those with middle class backgrounds. It can also come from individuals who are themselves doing low-wage jobs, or even who are unemployed, but who have middle-class parents.

  • Everybody can afford to live in a decent/nice house or apartment, in a decent/nice neighbourhood. So, people living in low-rent/high-crime neighbourhoods are choosing to be there because they are scumbags who enjoy the atmosphere.
  • Everybody can call The Bank Of Mommy And Daddy to make a withdrawal, any time they are short on cash.
  • Everybody can move back in with Mommy and Daddy, who live in a nice house, in a nice neighbourhood.
  • Women with breadwinning husbands may assume that everybody has one.
  • All geographic areas have the same level of economic opportunity. This relates to the attitude that, everyone should live in one town for their entire life, and that, there couldn’t possibly be any legitimate reason to move. I have been chronically treated like I did something stupid and morally wrong because I moved to a large city as a young adult, and refused to stay stuck in the impoverished, backwards rural town where my mother chose to live.
  • Everybody has the same educational opportunities. Including being supported by parents, to enable university, rather than having to work full-time.
  • Some people get negative attitudes towards a poor person who pursues higher education as a “mature” student. As if she were obligated to just accept a low-education/low-income life. The people showing this attitude run the whole economic spectrum.
  • Severe ignorance about the difficulties of a university student with a low income and zero family support system. This can include affluent students generally screwing around (talking loudly in class, etc), and failing to respect that a poor student is sacrificing and taking education seriously (e.g. she is personally paying for it, and also that it’s her path out of poverty).
  • Everybody can demand that an employer must assign them to a job in a nice, polite, clean, air-conditioned office, sitting down all day.
  • Everybody can demand that an employer pay them enough to live comfortably.
  • Everybody can limit themselves to working 8 hours per day, 5 days per week, with a fixed 9–5 schedule and fixed hourly wage. Severe ignorance of issues like commission/piecework, unstable (including casual) shift rostering, early/late/night shifts, working overtime, etc. I have even encountered open hostility over this. In my experience, that is a specifically female reaction.
  • Intelligence and economic class are automatically correlated. Severe cognitive dissonance at encountering someone who is intelligent, articulate, well-read, etc, and who is employed at a low-paying/low-skill/low-status job.
  • Severe ignorance of the issues that poor people may have in taking care of their health. Including such things as telling someone that they are stupid if they don’t have medical insurance.
  • Severe ignorance of daily issues like using public transportation, which can take large amounts of time and hassle.
  • Severe ignorance of the levels of violence, drugs, and other crime encountered by poor people in the environments where they live and work.
  • Severe ignorance about why a working-poor person seems to stressed-out all the time. Stemming from severe ignorance of how that person may be “hanging by a thread” financially, with a real possibility of becoming homeless.
  • Severe ignorance of the general social dysfunction among poor people. Including the types of people surrounding you when you are poor. This includes severe ignorance of the way that, an employed working poor person will be targeted by parasitic/exploitative non-working poor people.
  • Speaking of exploitation, I once knew an alleged adult with coddling upper-middle-class parents who thought she was entitled to go around leeching off of working poor people. With the delusion that, anyone with any job has large quantities of money to fork over. Her father even expected me to let his out-of-control abusive brat live in my home, rent-free.
  • Severe lack of comprehension that, a working poor person may be justified in having a very cynical view of humanity in general.