Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Beggar Registration Department

For Official Beggars
  (+7, -5)
(+7, -5)
  [vote for,

Coming from a relatively small town, it wasn't until I went to big cities that I began to appreciate what a big problem homelessness is. The number of people sitting on street-corners begging for money is vaguely reminiscent of choosing a charity to donate money to. So I suggest using a similar semi-solution.

When donating money to charity, it is always a good idea to check if it has been registered, so that you can be sure that you aren't giving your money to con artists.

The same could be applied to beggars. They could apply for an official beggar's license after their eligibility has been assessed e.g. an identity check and, if they exist, employment history and/or tax records.

Of course there is still no way to be sure what the beggar would do with the money, but at least you would be less likely to be giving money to a swindler.

hidden truths, Sep 06 2005


       Interesting approach and a good idea, but since pan-handling is illegal in most places may be a timeconsuming process to implement. The cops only step in when "aggresive pan-handling" is reported.
dentworth, Sep 06 2005

       London Underground have done something similar for busking. Whereas you used to be able to hang around the tube making random noises with an instrument (I have done exactly that) you now have to be licensed to be a busker, a process that requires an audition. The standard of busking has since risen massively - maybe we could raise the standard of begging by similar methods?
wagster, Sep 06 2005

       //maybe we could raise the standard of begging\\   

       Yeah, like instead of todays filthy bums we could have some real good begging like they had in the old days. People without legs walking on their knuckles and all sorts of hideous deformations. Get a bit of moneys worth, I say.   

       Seriously though, where I live beggars have united and publish the homeless newspaper with all sorts of news and funny stuff. If you buy one the beggar that sold it to you gets a cut.   

       So now at least the don't ask for money for a cup of coffee when they really want a beer. The thing I don't get is why these beggars are healthy individuals in their twenties and thirties. Why don't they work instead of slouch around?
zeno, Sep 06 2005

       As you point out yourself [hidden] there's no way of knowing what the money will be used for. Many genuine beggars have genuine drug/alcohol problems that brought them to their current sorry state. Since it would be hard to incorporate any kind of repeat drug testing in your licensing scheme, I'd suggest that a better way to help the homeless is by volunteering/donating with one of the many charities dedicated to those sleeping rough. Nice try but [-], sorry.
DocBrown, Sep 06 2005

       //Why don't they work instead of slouch around?// [zeno], have you tried applying for a job without having an address or a telephone number?
wagster, Sep 06 2005

       Preheated, Robert Heinlein, "Citizen of the Galaxy", back in the fifties somewhen.   

       "I am a licensed mendicant".
normzone, Sep 06 2005

       do you know we are all just 1 step away from being beggars? I have had that experience...   

       this beggars belief!   

       and the New Orleans experience tells us that we are just 2 meals away from cannibalism etc.
po, Sep 06 2005

       [wagster], no I haven't, but there's lots of others that play music or do a dance, or juggle or whatever. If you start out with being active or pro-active, life has options, posibillities beyond your imagination. I have seen beggars with sad stories: Give me money because I am pitifull. But I have also seen beggars who said: hey dude, I am hungry and you are eating a giant sandwich, can I have a bite?   

       To the first I did not give money, the second I gave my whole sandwich and got myself another.   

       I understand if people are down and out. It could happen to all of us. But I don't understand wining and portraying yourself as a victim. If you feel victomised, it's you that victomise yourself. If you are down on your luck: ask a fellow human being for help and you will get it nine out of ten.   

       And another thing: there was a time when I had no bank account, no social security checks, no health insurance. I worked in construction illlegally ( like in I did not pay tax and neither did my "employer") And I know a guy that is homeless and still has a job.   

       I believe that making something of your life is a choice. Succes is a choice. Even if you are a homeless beggar. Hell I once met a guy from china who played the flute, he was homeless, he played untill he had enough money to buy a plain ticket to the next country. The money for one ticket could buy him half a lifetime of luxury in his own country. And he had saved up enough to last him at least that. And it wasn't as if he was a very good musician. He was ok. he had a dream, a purpose and he went for it.   

       I know of one guy who travelled aroung the world with nothing but a matchbox, he did amazing tricks with it on the streets and people gave him money.
zeno, Sep 07 2005

       [DocBrown] I quite like your suggestion of a drug testing requirement for getting the license. The trouble with donating money to such charities is that in many cases much of the donation will get swallowed up in administration fees. I recognise that many have drug and/or alcohol problems, but there are also many that are just lookng for something to eat. Personally in many cases I would be likely to do as [zeno] did and actually give food to someone than give money, but that isn't always possible.
hidden truths, Sep 08 2005

       How much money could you save and give to them directly if you were to can this presumedly government organizational bureau?
RayfordSteele, Sep 09 2005

       And also license the murders???
Susan, Sep 12 2005

       If a homeless person was able to get a registered license, would they not just cut to the chase, get some kind of welfare while they're there and cut out the whole begging process? Also how would you know which homeless people are the registered ones? Sorry. I can see where you're going with it though.
gorjabuble, Sep 13 2005

       "Success is a choice" - zeno, Sep 07 2005   

       That seems rather simplistic, and is probably why people in general keep believing in the "just world fallacy" in regards to poverty. Perhaps it's more like this::   

       Success = Preparation * Opportunity   

       Where Opportunity includes anything out of a person's control, like nature, nurture, and societal advantages. The individual should always increase their Preparation side lest opportunities slip by. But the observer should/must understand the importance of opportunity as well, and use it to temper the all too human tendency to judge others without addressing the underlying causes.   

       As po mentioned, we are all one step away from being a begger. (Plus we can't be having people performing illegal stuff just to get by, like not paying their taxes by working in construction illegally. If people have to do illegal things to survive, then the system is badly engineered. )   


       Anyway, a registration system does provide an opportunity to have a 3rd option beside outright criminalizing poverty.   

       Since begging is quite unsightly to many ordinary citizens, an alternative could really to provide an option to be authorized to beg, or to collect a weekly/daily stipend. If they choose the stipend option, they will not be allowed to beg.   

       It can be potentially funded under the council rate of "I don't want beggars on the street, and am willing to pay for it to go away".   

       A side benefit of the scheme is that begging sucks a lot of time and hour and mental energy. I think we can all agree that we rather them spend it on somewhere else, like... I donno... learning, self improvement, and maybe even landing a job?   

       So now it's kind of like a free market. In the sense that you can decrease the stipend if you want, but risk homeless individuals choosing to beg instead. Not sure if such scheme is still essentially just brushing poverty under the carpet thought, which if that is the case, we might as well look to the basic income scheme and get the whole thing over with.
mofosyne, Jul 25 2015

       Didn't Robert Aspirin's Thieves World have a beggars guild? Of course if there is a Thieves guild why not?
bungston, Jul 25 2015

       Is choosing prohibited, as part of the registration conditions?
xenzag, Jul 25 2015

       xenzag, Jul 25 2015   

       Well if you are under the stipend program, then you cannot beg. But if you think the stipend system is crap, then you can cancel it and go back to begging.   

       So the choosing is default by nature of subscription... unless you totally make begging illegal. Which would unfortunately mean they cannot boycott the stipend if it's not enough to even survive on. (The brits did that if I recall during the irish famine. Results were not pretty)
mofosyne, Jul 26 2015

       // The brits did that //   

       The English did that, actually. It would be entirely wrong to let any of the credit for such a far-sighted measure go to the scotch or the welsh.
8th of 7, Jul 26 2015

       //So the choosing is default by nature of subscription.// Ha - so serious. It was a joke - "beggars can't be choosers!"
xenzag, Jul 26 2015


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