Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The Cloward/Piven Strategy: The Perfect Storm

The Cloward/Priven Strategy was developed by Richard A. Cloward and Francis Fox Piven in the mod 60's as a way to affect social change by causing the collapse of the existing Welfare System by overwhelming it with new applicants. In Regulating the Poor: The Functions of Public Welfare they lay out the plan, and give historical perspective for the strategy's implementation and success, to force government to expand social welfare programs. The ultimate goal in this plan, as explained in their 1966 article published in The Nation magazine, is to force the government to provide a guaranteed yearly income to the poor by the redistribution of wealth to the poor. The fundamental theory of this plan is found in historical revolts throughout history including the Great Depression that resulted in the New Deal plan of social reform.

The strategy was implemented in the 1960's successfully by enlisting militant civil rights activists to help mobilize the poor and overwhelm the welfare system with applicants who previously resisted entering into welfare due to the social stigma associated with it. The result of the ensuing protests and riots has been the continued expansion of the welfare system, the erosion of the negative social stigma associated with receiving welfare, and the expansion of a pseudo-socialist political agenda embraced by the Left. Prior to this many people (50% of those eligible) refused to apply for welfare because the community looked down on people who didn't take care of themselves and many who were on welfare received well below the level of assistance the program allowed for. Since the introduction of this theory the social stigma associated with welfare has been all but eliminated.

40 years later we have a society that has forgotten the principles of personal responsibility and and self reliance that drove our country to a level of innovation, ingenuity, and success that gave us an advantage over every other nation in the world. This trend can be reversed by returning to our roots and holding those who choose to be on welfare programs accountable to the country. A very wise man once said, "If a man will not work, then let him not eat as well." It may sound cruel to say, but if a person gets hungry enough they will either work, or starve to death...either way the problem is solved. This is not to say that we all don't need help from time to time. But isn't it the responsibility of the family or the religious organization to provide that help. Forcing the nation to provide for those who will not provide for themselves damages everyone's ability to participate in the American Dream. The American Dream is the opportunity  to improve their quality of life and to accumulate personal wealth through hard work and personal responsibility. Welfare is not the American Dream.

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