In the 1930s, as Amity Shlaes discusses in The Forgotten Man, it was logical to assume that poverty was partially a result of geography. But these days, as Orrin Judd and Kathy Shaidle each note (and from across the pond, so does Theodore Dalrymple in vast tracts of his back catalog), it’s very often much more a function of mindset than anything else.
Keep that in mind as read an article by Karen Selick in Canada’s National Post, which posits that “Food banks simply conceal problems that are too taboo to discuss these days”:
The illogic of food banks is so obvious that only one explanation makes sense. Charities can’t simply collect cash and give grocery money to the needy because donors know it wouldn’t all be spent on necessities. Some would be spent on cigarettes, booze or bingo. Years ago, when I prepared budget statements for clients on legal aid, I was astonished at how much some poor people spent on such things. [Having worked during college breaks in a liquor store as a teenager, I’m not.–Ed]
Middle-class or wealthy Canadians shouldn’t accept guilt when anti-poverty activists hint that the existence of food banks proves some moral deficiency in the economic system. Far from it. Food banks simply conceal problems that are too taboo to discuss these days.
Via Kate at SDA, who boils the pertinent facts of the situation down to a pithy seven words.