For Preventing the Poor People in Britain from being a burden to Their Country, and For Making Them Beneficial to The Public

Un hommage á Jonathan Swift

Whenever I travel the country and listen to the newscasts and read the papers, it has become evident that the poor are a significant burden upon the country. Instead of working, women go begging at food banks to provide for their children. Others sit on the streets with their offspring begging money from their betters. Clearly these lazy creatures assume that we as a society have some responsibility to ensure the existence of their offspring. Moreover, since they have to care for their children, they obviously have no time to actually work to provide for their existence. Their lack of property and their inability to ensure their and their offspring’s survival is threatening the very nature of our society.

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Listening to the enlightened member of the government, Michael Gove, discussing their despair at the difficulty of providing for the poor in a period of falling profit and watching their sincere worry at the sheer indolence and decrepitude of so many that simply cannot take care of themselves due to their inability to divide their princely sums bestowed upon them by the government for their provenance one wonders at what can be done to eradicate the problems of her majesty’s subjects that are forced to deal with such laziness and drunkenness and lack of respect for the publick good? Their overabundance of children and dependent elderly and the poor choices of the poor have forced rising usage of food banks which simply cannot be tasked with providing for all this dependency. Imagine that 1 in 4 people cannot balance their munificent benefits to cover the costs of school uniforms; clearly they have too many children or are obviously spending their money on alcohol.
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A solution is demanded to get all these lazy people into work. But that is clearly not sufficient as provision for the children, elderly and infirm is needed so as not to undermine the working ability of those that are able-bodied but unwilling to be responsible to survive on wages below the social subsistence level. Imagine that some are working but not earning enough? Clearly that is their fault and they must be forced to work harder. It is insufficient that we cut their benefits further as demanded by our illustrious secretary of works and pensions, Iain Duncan Smith; surely they know that the going rate of wages is determined by supply and demand and that any interference by creating a living minimum wage will simply impoverish everyone?

Moreover, they insist on breeding more wretched versions that eat into the carefully determined minimum wage so carefully designed to ensure their bare subsistence and force their parents to eat insufficient amounts of food to be available at a phone call’s notice for availability of employment. Raised by the indolent with no knowledge of work ethic and wasting scarce resources of education, they drain the public purse. Needing a next generation of workers, we cannot simply cut them off but we should of course not sustain those unneeded in the future. Obviously, more than two children must be penalised. Some of her majesty’s ministers have suggested punishment by which benefits for children are lowered after more than two progeny. Far too soft-hearted as it gives the parents the opportunity of breeding more than two and then sacrificing their own food which then perhaps would impact on their ability to labour.

A greater bane is the elderly who simply did not have the wisdom to save sufficiently to live a dignified retirement and now are dependent upon the grand state pensions provided by the state. They dare to live past the age of usefulness to the society and are a drain on the public purse and on scarce resources such as food, the health system, housing, water, electricity and fuel for heating. They may require additional care which will eat into the subsidies for important sectors like the fracking industry working diligently to ensure our access to natural gas. This can simply not be allowed.

While some misguided members of the public may argue that in fact the problem is one of insufficient need on the part of our leaders of the business community for workers and that work could be created at union wages by her majesty’s government in the sectors of transport, housing, education and social care of children, the elderly and infirm these people are simply soft-hearted; simply not understanding that these people are lazy and must be punished in the harshest way possible so as to teach them that laziness has a price.

The creation of a national service suggested by Tory, Labour and Lib Dem members of Parliament has some merits. However, it only demands 1 year at minimum wages either in the (i) charitable work, (ii) social action, (iii) care for the elderly or disabled, (iv) overseas development activity, or (v) work connected with the National Health Service, the emergency services or the Armed Forces; imagine that it only provides one year of cheap labour! Clearly, the children of the wealthy can service overseas development activity and they would not be dependent upon the minimum wage; however, that is insufficient to teach the work ethic to the scions of our indolent so-called working class. While it will save money on wages for our illustrious business community, one year’s labour does not even begin to cover the expenses laid out for their education. Incredibly, it also points to the issue being one of labour demand and why should the government pay for these people’s poor education and choices, when there are more obvious answers?

My immodest proposal

As everyone in the know knows, poverty is a life choice; people choose simply to be poor and lazy. Their inability to manage the beneficence endowed on them by the state and not contribute by providing labour to the public is evidence of their immorality. Immorality should never be enabled. We must stamp it out.

Discussing the matter at length with historians, I have come to the conclusion that the past has much to offer. If the poor are lazy and unwilling to work as all unemployment is voluntary then we must force them to work.

We have many examples in recent history, but they may be too much for those silly believers in human rights, so we must go further back than the 1940s. Our past has excellent answers for dealing with an old problem: Mister Bentham and the creators of the 1834 Poor Law reform were on the right track.

Since work is punishment, we can open up poor houses. To not impact upon her majesty’s purse, these can be run by the private sector; they merely need to provide common housing, meals and clothes. Since they do not need to purchase things as everything is being provided, wages are redundant. That will save money for both state and business leaders as since they are poor there is no reason to pay them the munificent minimum wage, they can work for their benefits. Since they will be fed, housed, and clothed, and they as such do not need to purchase things as all their needs are provided for them, even wages are essentially redundant. While some may fear that this will impact upon their consumption and hence upon realisation of profitability of goods produced by the private sector, we are certain that the consumption of these poor souls does not drive the system; that power solely belongs to the savings and investment of the wealthy. These people can serve the publick good, they even can be used as test subjects for our pharmaceutical industry. If all else fails and they cannot learn the importance of serving their betters with their labour, the perennial shortage of organs for transplant and the use of their wombs to help the wealthy childless can easily be arranged and they will have provided a service to the public.
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While one may accept this for the abled-bodied, what of the disabled? Nothing to fear, as our inestimable Mr. Bentham states:

“A person deprived of all his limbs, or the use of all his limbs may still possess ability sufficient to the purpose of serving as an inspector to most kinds of work, so long as his mental faculties, and sight for observing, and voice for questioning are possessed by him in sufficient rigour (Bentham, 1796, p. 46-7).”

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Why waste money on education for the working classes? They only need to know how to be useful in their roles as workers. They are clearly not learning this from their lazy voluntarily unemployed parents. Happily, the inestimable Mr Bentham comes to the rescue again, alas it will cost the government some money, but it will be recouped with their labour and will teach them at a young age the importance of the work ethic:

“Position 47: From the labour of a Minor, brought up and educated at the public charge, the public may, without injustice, hardship or even deviation from established law, or usage, reap the utmost profit that such labour can be made to yield, consistently with regard due, [...], to the health and permanent welfare of the individual, and that, from the period, whatever it may be, of his being taken under public care, until the expiration of his minority (Bentham, 1796, p. 53).”

That brings us to those too young to provide labour, the disabled that are unable to work and are such a drain on society’s resources and those that are too old and are no longer of any use to society and were improvident enough not to ensure their independent survival. These answers are so obvious, it surprises one that they haven’t been implemented earlier.

Clearly, the size of the population and the difficulty of producing sufficient quantities of food are leading to the rising prices of food. After replacement of the next generation of the working class (which we scientifically estimate at two for each family), the rest are redundant.

Meat and feeding grain to the food supply is rising due to the need to sustain the profitability of agribusiness. We can help by increasing the supply of meat; the tender flesh of the very young will better the diets of the poor and can be supplied at a low price and this will improve the ability to labour of the poorest by varying their diets. The flesh of the poor that are severely disabled and elderly and since their organs may be of limited transplant value would certainly serve as fertiliser to ensure an increase in grain production which should cut costs of fertilisers for agribusiness and will also be organically produced.

Since we know that the capitalist system provides full employment, we have no need of supplementing their demand for labour through the creation of state jobs. Clearly those that are unemployed are lazy and do not want to work at the going wages. If workers wanted more bargaining power in contract negotiations they would stop breeding.

Instead of encouraging cooperatives and alternative forms of production and consumption, we know that competition and the steady invisible hand of capitalism will provide for all who are willing to contribute their labour.

Instead of creating jobs by the state in sectors in which there is dire need like green manufacturing, transport, education, health care, child care, care for the elderly and infirm and building desperately needed social housing and where people receive long term training to do these jobs, have job protection and are paid union wages, why pay wages at all?
Instead of taxing wealth (land and stock portfolios for example), taxing all financial transactions, capital gains and corporations as well as introducing a more progressive income tax, why should we worry about the needs of the vast majority?

Instead of guaranteeing access to drinking water, health care, energy, heating and transport for all, we only need to cover those whose wealth deems them deserving of these luxuries. The wealthy have earned these things due to their greater intelligence, foresight in saving instead of consuming, and their obvious greater abilities than those without property. Redistribution of wealth will only impoverish all of the country as the poor cannot make good choices about managing their largesse.

Instead of ensuring income and services from cradle to grave, we can provide physical subsistence as long as people are able to give their labour. The wage is what the wage is, demanding a relationship to the costs of living only undermines profitability and we cannot do that in a period where certain sectors are facing declining profitability.

Instead of dumping the whole capitalist system where people’s needs are subsumed to profitability, where the planet is being destroyed in the name of profit and where people themselves become economically redundant, we should extend the system to the point where profitability is the only concern of governments as well as business and where voting is solely done by the propertied classes.

I beg you give my immodest proposal the consideration it deserves. To quote the inestimable Jonathan Swift whose own writing has provided the inspiration for this essay:

“I profess, in the sincerity of my heart, that I have not the least personal interest in endeavoring to promote this necessary work, having no other motive than the public good of my country, by advancing our trade, providing for infants, relieving the poor, and giving some pleasure to the rich.”

My deepest gratitude to

Bentham, Jeremy, (1796) “Essays on the Subject of the Poor Laws, Essay I and II,” in Writings on the Poor Laws, Volume I, pp. 3-65.

Swift, Jonathan (1729) “A Modest Proposal For Preventing The Children of Poor People in Ireland From Being A burden to Their Parents or Country, and For Making Them Beneficial to The Public.” (http://art-bin.com/art/omodest.html)

and the ConDem government without whom this essay would be sincerely unnecessary …