So, lately I have found myself having this conversation with a number of people, and hearing different opinions on the topic. The topic is street beggars.
When I visited some family friends in Vancouver a few years back, the woman told me “never give money to beggars here, half of them aren’t even homeless. Some of them even own shoes but take them off and hide them while they’re begging to get more sympathy…” Bleeding Heart Social Worker Miss had to bite her tongue very hard to not come back with some hilarious quip such as “Now, is that manipulative, or good business sense? Wait there’s no difference between the two in the Business World, why should there be here?”
And that is basically the crux of my argument. If people choose to have it their job to sit out on the street and beg, then that’s their job, just like you go to work everyday, they go to their street corner with their mangled “Going through court, need money for legal costs” or “need place to sleep, not drugs” signage that sits behind their squashed hat to catch 5c pieces. Why should we judge this? An answer to this Q that deserves some consideration is “because they are duping/defrauding people to feel sympathy for them”. But I’ve thought this over, and I still believe that this is ok. Whether or not it’s an act/performance, people choose to freely give them money. And the givers feel a sense of righteousness because they have spared money on a poor person. So if you think about it like that, people who beg on the street are doing society a favour, they are providing the public a service by which they can feel smug at their deed of altruism.
What do you guys think?