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Great worldcitizen 2022-06-12 16:16

Hello Gert,
Your photo is a sad commentary on homelessness being more "normal" these days, and your note raises some questions for me once again. You mention the social safety net. What exactly does that entail in Sweden? How does Sweden deal with people who have chronic mental illness or long-term drug addiction? You also mentioned that beggars have decreased, possibly because of COVID, and I was surprised to read that. Here in NYC it's the exact opposite. The number of people living on the streets has exploded, and crime has risen steadily. Sorry, I didn't mean to turn this critique into a social commentary essay... The photo itself is depressing, but well-noticed and presented. Take care...

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Old 06-13-2022, 01:48 PM
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holmertz holmertz is offline
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Default To worldcitizen: social commentary essay

Thank you Brenda for these comments and the others.
I think that among those who have slipped through the social safety net you would find many of the mentally ill or drug abusers you mention. But generally the loopholes in the safety net have been widened in recent decades when many social services have been privatized by neo-liberal rightwing governments. Since I have never been in a situation where I have had to ask the society for any help I don't know exactly all that could be done, but there is - or should be - a system of insurances and guarantees that should save every citizen or tax-payer from the abyss of hopeless poverty. Of course for migrants, especially those from outside the EU, the safety net is a lot weaker and they might have to rely on help from the Salvation Army or similar organizations.

I am right now reading, for the second time, the very interesting book "Nickel and Dimed" by Barbara Ehrenreich, working "Undercover in Low-wage USA". I can't imagine lives like those she describes could be found in any of the Nordic countries. Working in fast food restaurants, at Wal-Mart or "Maid" services for minimum wages and basically no public social safety net in the USA seems like total hell to me.

Best regards,
Gert
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