Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Economic Realities of The Beggar in Society

Perhaps the position of the beggar in an economy is as provocative as the role of the beggar in a social context. The beggar does not produce any commodity or provide any obvious service. Thus there is an ambiguity as to his / her "value", yet throughout time and space, culture, etc. the beggar is present in any number of guises. If it is perceived that s/he has no skill or has skill but no means (due to physical condition or mental stability such as a person who is strong but lacks the capacity to focus on a task or to even understand directions, or even the financial resources to access tools or proper clothing), then she is at the mercy of others to receive sustenance for survival.

That said, it still behooves others to recognize not only that there is one who is unable to provide for him/herself but that the person, as a human being, is deserving of assistance (a value judgement?). This further requires at best a level of compassion on the part of the more able individual, solely or in a collective, to provide assistance. Is this the balance of Gevurah (judgement) and Chesed (compassion) in the Kabbalistic Tree of LIfe? 

This assistance requires an understanding of when one has enough so that sharing may take place.

I am not an economist by any means, but I sense that the response to the beggar differs in hunter vs gather and agrarian societies / economies, where teamwork is required to produce even a bite, whereas in the latter half and in the case of farming, one can search for or grow just enough.

If any reader knows more about the beggar in various societies / economies, please get in touch.

And remember,
No Matter What
Don't Forget to Ask for the Money!