Who is the “sin” of poverty?

In the new crown epidemic situation, how can the poor guard against the epidemic, especially the destitute like the homeless?

More than two months after the closure of the city, the number of confirmed diagnoses in the South American Andean country Peru exceeded 100,000, and the accumulation of hospital corpses was difficult to handle. Whether it is a low-income group in Peru or Venezuelan refugees who mainly live in Lima, the capital of Peru, many people cut their incomes and starve, and the poor in some cities have even begun to flee Lima in violation of the ban.

Even in the United States, where there are inclusive relief measures, the class gap remains clear before the epidemic. In March this year, a homeless shelter in Las Vegas was urgently closed because a homeless person was diagnosed with an infection. In order to prevent the spread of the virus, the authorities centralized the management of the homeless by changing the parking lot to an open shelter. To maintain social distance, the authorities drew 6-foot grids on the ground, and the homeless slept in the grids of the open-air parking lot. It was originally covered with blankets, but because of the inconvenience of disinfection, the homeless can only sleep on the cold concrete floor because of ugliness.

People with the most vulnerable economic conditions may suffer the most discrimination.

This is Las Vegas, the world’s famous casino and resort, and the most populous city in Nevada. Affected by the epidemic, the authorities ordered the casino to be closed for 30 days, which means that all luxury hotels have no guests.

However, even if the hotel is empty and the shelter is forced to close, the homeless person is still not qualified to enter the neon lights of the Sleepless City.

In November 2019, Las Vegas passed a controversial law-prohibiting sleeping on the street while accommodating all beds, and violators will be sentenced to a maximum of 6 months in prison and a fine of $1,000. This caused the public to rebound and protest. Although the authorities explained that this is to help the homeless to reintegrate into society, there may be better solutions, such as improving the social welfare system, providing more social housing (social housing), and creating job opportunities.

The mainstream of the society often thinks that homeless people are lazy to eat, because their own problems fall to the bottom, but they often ignore that poverty often has its own different context and structural factors.

Maybe some people are born with a bad background, unable to complete the upward flow of class, and can only be trapped in a cycle of poverty; maybe some people cannot find a suitable job because of illness; maybe some people have their original skills become useless because of industrial transformation; maybe Some people have fled their families due to domestic violence… and affected by the new crown epidemic, the number of unemployed people in the world has increased sharply. If these unemployed people were originally close to the poor in society, if they can’t afford the rent after they lose their jobs, they may also live on the streets.

Of course, this is not only a humanitarian issue, but also a capital circulation issue. Labor is just a commodity purchased by capitalists in the capital cycle. Laborers get paid in this process, and capitalists accumulate more capital in this process. However, capital seeks to avoid disadvantages. When the capital cycle is hindered, the biggest victims are laborers, not capitalists.

In fact, many homeless people do not work, they will do some odd jobs, they need to work very hard to make ends meet. But society is realistic. Without social capital, it is difficult to counterattack by personal efforts alone.

“How can a person survive on an hourly wage of 6 to 7 dollars? Not to mention success.” American columnist Barbara Allan Rick doubts the words that make people “change their lives”. She personally enters the bottom work and life. Later discovered-no matter how hard you try, it may not necessarily change the destiny of poverty.

Among the large-scale unemployed people caused by this epidemic, the people with the most vulnerable economic conditions may suffer the most discrimination.