Homelessness: An analysis

I am going to be very politically incorrect below.  The Left will accuse me of being heartless and uncaring.  But their indifference to the ghastly attacks on innocent Israelis from Gaza tells us what a hollow pretence their "caring" is

Conservatives do occasionally note that homelessness is mainly an outcome of poor decisions and I am going to elaborate on that but I also want to go bit deeper than that

Being a good academic, I will first define my terms.  By "homeless" I mean street sleepers and people who live in their cars.  I probably should also include "couch surfers" who live temporarily with friends.  There is something of a continuum between those three groups but there is sufficient similarity to support the generalizations I wish to make.

The basic problem with the homeless is poor decision-making. The letting agents tell us that the unhousable usually have drug and alcohol problems or are welfare-dependent single mothers.  No experienced landlord would have anything to do with such people.  Offering them accommodation would be asking for trouble.  Such people would all have higher priorities than paying their rent

Women who get their legs up outside a committed relationship and without contraception are undoubtedly making a risky decision and one that sometimes goes very wrong.  How selective you are about your partners is an important decision.  Single mothers have undoubtedly got it wrong

So let us look at the other extreme:  cautious people.  If a man is frugal, is abstemious with alcohol, takes no recreational drugs and goes to university to get a useful qualification, he is most unlikely to end up homeless. Ditto for a woman who is careful with her contraception.

A major and important difference between the cautious and incautious groups is frugality.  I have expanded on that previously


So I think I have covered the major ways in which decisions affect homelessness.  So the next step is to ask WHY some people make very bad decisions

Sad to say, I think the two groups are actually born different, with impulsiveness and poor ability to think ahead being inborn in most of the homeless.

And IQ is perhaps the most important inborn difference of all. The people who go to university and the people who spend most  of their money on  beer and cigarettes are almost always going to be differentiated by IQ.  A smart person can see when he is at a dead end and will find a way out of it.

So the homeless do deserve our pity and help.  They are born unfortunate.  They  cannot help it.  Whether it is incumbent on anyone to help them is another question, however.  Governments sometimes attempt that task by providing "social" (welfare) housing but the cost of that ensures that it will only ever be a partial solution.  There is no good alternative to self-help -- JR

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