In recent years, we've seen increasing numbers of beggars on the streets of downtown Vancouver, and many of them look young and healthy. I ask myself why these youths choose to sit on the sidewalks, asking for money from strangers.
Recently, I saw one young man using the language of advertising to beg. He was holding up a sign saying "SEX: there, now that I've got your attention, please give me money." Or words to that effect. He didn't actually ask, just advertised.
Often beggars have dogs with them. Most of these animals look well-fed and well-kept. Apparently they, like their humans, depend on begging for a living.
This is a wealthy country and we still have a social safety net. All kinds of social services, both public and private, are available for those who ask for them.
Work is also available for those who seek it. When the Canada line was built, labourers came from other countries to fill the quota of workers needed.
In the hungry thirties, when people were truly in need and there was no social safety net, begging was a sign of shame and broken pride. Until recently, it was considered unacceptable except as a final resort.
What's changed that's made it so common for young people to turn themselves into beggars?