The dream and reality of young people at the bottom of society

In the 1970s, on the sidewalks of the streets of New York or Los Angeles, people with unemployment signs and waiting for work could be seen everywhere. This approach has more or less a sense of protest and irony, and it continues to this day.

Young people living in European and American countries who are also at the bottom of society like to live on welfare, while Chinese youth believe in self-reliance and do everything possible to find a job that can change their lives, even carrying the expectation of changing the destiny of the family and glorifying their ancestors. On the one hand, abandoning dreams, sitting in the sky, squandering youth, and being cast with contempt by others; on the other hand, having an enviable job, struggling but hard to turn over, two seemingly different roads have the possibility of reaching the same end.

Welfare and relief: a stable backer or a hot potato?
For the increasing number of unemployed people, society also has active countermeasures. The financial burden brought about by the aging of the population and population expansion should not be underestimated. Even the current welfare bill cannot be sustained in the long run. Filling the gap in welfare and relief every year has made the originally tense financial problem even worse. Many countries have worked hard to turn this part of the population into productivity to reduce the burden and improve the social conflicts caused by this “imbalance” of human resources. However, the development of society does not follow a perfect concept. Most of the time, it will only solve one problem and inspire another new problem. With the passage of time, this worrying issue for many countries has not settled, but has become more and more prominent. The widespread use of automated intelligent AI technology in the workplace has improved production efficiency while reducing employment. Jobs are becoming increasingly scarce and employment pressure is increasing. In his book “Non-Stop Inertia” (Non-Stop Inertia), Ivor Southwood wrote about the embarrassing situation of the contemporary unemployed based on his personal experience and observations.

Applicants for job-seeking allowance are required by the agency to write a detailed job-seeking diary. They must list at least 3 positive actions that are conducive to job hunting every week, otherwise the government benefits they received will be cancelled. And this record is only the first link in the “torture” of the applicant. If the unemployed do not perform it effectively and fabricate it at random, this low-cost benefit may disappear, and those with serious circumstances will still Suffer certain punishments. This kind of “carrot and stick” measure continues to encourage the unemployed to create positive energy, while at the same time depriving them of the freedom to go to work. In recent years, especially in European and American countries, the standards for receiving welfare and relief have become more stringent, and some have to be judged based on whether the applicants are strong in finding a job. It can be described as calculating. A social relief benefit, once regarded as a stable backing, has now become a hot potato.

Why do social welfare payments need such a rigorous review today? In fact, some young people have lost their dream of fighting under the pressure. In a word, their original intention is to lie down. Japanese scholar Saito Tamaki once conducted research on the lives of such a group of young people. He found that a social illness quietly prevalent among young people at the bottom of society. They are known as “Hanging tribes” or hidden youths. Behind this seemingly low-key and elegant name, there are many unknown social ills, which not only affect their personal future, but also affect their friends and family. influences. Similar to the “Hanging Clan” in Japan is the common “gnawing old clan” in China. Today, with increasingly tight jobs, there are more and more young people in such isolation, which has become a common trend.

In Western society, relying on social relief funds is the way of life of many people, and this choice has a trend of getting younger and younger.

The threshold of social welfare relief has also raised the application requirements. According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, taking 50%-60% of the average social income in a country or region as the “poverty line”, that is, giving such people the lowest cost for basic survival. Especially during the new crown pneumonia epidemic, the U.S. Senate passed the nation’s largest ever US$2 trillion rescue and revitalization plan to assist laborers, companies, and resource-depleted hospitals affected by the rapid spread of the epidemic. In addition to receiving unemployment benefits from their state, the unemployed will also receive a compensation of $600 per person per week allocated to them by this plan, but only for up to 4 months. Backed by the dual support of their parents and family members and social relief, they were stigmatized as “good to be lazy and unfilial to their children” at a young age. They have long been insecure and have inferiority complex but few people understand it, and they cannot be like most Young people integrate into society like that, they can’t talk about their depression and pain, and they can’t do anything. They will eventually have to live under the contempt and questioning of relatives, friends and family, and the welfare policy of both kindness and power. In the era of rapid development and unified standardization, the society has fallen into a mechanical way of thinking about people’s ways of life, linking success to work and key performance indicators (KPIs), while avoiding personal life and concealing it. The appearance of young people is tantamount to a silent confrontation against this ruler, just like the lazy Homer in the cartoon “The Simpsons”. The increasingly generous body is a contempt for rational life.

In the low-level work types of European and American countries, whether it is the operating environment or work equipment, there is a very high degree of specialization.

To redeem themselves with subsistence allowances, the hidden youth confines the body, but realizes the unlimited freedom of thinking. Most people have to admit that even if they commute to work and stay up late, no matter how much encouragement or encouragement from the outside world, there is always a voice deep in their hearts that echoes the idea of ​​a hidden youth. Fei Qing and the dream chaser will always go hand in hand between the humble bottom class. There is a saying-diligent people are always the slaves of lazy people. It seems that struggling people are always at a loss, but in the future, this “pot” for lazy people may not even be affordable by society.

The poorer you work, the poorer you work?
Columnist Barbara Ehrenreich once disclosed the true situation of the bottom American people in his work “My Life at the Bottom—Being a Columnist incarnation as a Waitress”. In order to explore the truth about poverty, she lurked undercover in the lives of the “busy poor”, wandering between different cities and industries, and worked as a waiter, cleaner, salesperson and caregiver successively, and mastered first-hand information about the industry. I also took this opportunity to meet colleagues with various backgrounds and learn about many strange things they have encountered in employment, housing, medical care, and salary. As a feminist and political activist, Barbara is interested in issues at the bottom of society mostly because of her family background-her father is a miner and her ex-husband is a truck driver. Once upon a time, how many people thought that hard work is the only way to get rid of poverty, but now it seems that such an idea has a taste of jokes. In a sense, the happiness expected by the poor seems to be tantamount to a “cat running after its tail.” In fact, there is an established social law behind this-Pareto’s “Twenty-eight Law”, that is, 20% of people in society own 80% of social wealth, which means that the distribution of wealth among the population is unbalanced. of. With the increasingly serious division of social classes, the rich become richer and the poor become poorer. While waiting for the turning point of fate, still good youth is dragged down by money. The so-called “poor” in today’s society is not limited to material shortages. The spiritual world of most poor people is a wasteland, and there is no fun other than satisfying the most basic life. Mental poverty is also after subsistence. Another major social issue, how to live with dignity, is one of the key factors that determine the sustainable development of society in the future.

Columnist Barbara Allenrick disclosed the true situation of the American people at the bottom in her work “My Life at the Bottom—Being a Columnist incarnation as a Waitress”.

For people in different countries, poverty is relative. As a poor person, living in a rich country is more difficult than in a poor region, which is the so-called “I would rather be a chicken head than a phoenix tail.” The American journalist David K. Shipler observed, “From global or historical standards, the poor life in the minds of most Americans is actually very comfortable. For a Russian living in a suburb Saying that you can’t afford a car and don’t have central heating at home. This is not poverty, but for Americans in the suburbs, it is. For a Vietnamese farmer, as long as he has buffalo plowing the land, he can irrigate the field manually, and there is thatch. He is not poor if he lives in a house. And a farmer in North Carolina feels poor because he has to pick cucumbers with his hands and a full box to get a dollar, and he lives in a dilapidated trailer. In the mobile home. Poor people in the United States are sitting on apartments, telephones, televisions, running water, clothes, and other amenities. This makes most of the world’s poor people feel dazzled. However, this does not mean that the poor people in the United States can’t live. It’s miserable, or that doesn’t mean that those on the edge of poverty are not really on the edge of a cliff.”

In this way, the poverty situation does not depend on work to improve, it is entirely possible to move to a new place of residence to start a new era of life. For those who are content with the status quo, it is better to slow down the pace of chasing capital instead of working non-stop. Because these people clearly see the crux of the problem, the wheel of history rolls forward, and ordinary people play a negligible role in it. Riding the wind and waves not only cannot ensure success, but may destroy the entire life. Changing destiny and realizing the turnaround of life is not a matter of overnight. As a relatively fixed group, the residents at the bottom of the society exhibit a prolonged effect of generations over time. As the saying goes, “It’s hard for a poor family to make a good son.” From a certain point of view, it is more difficult to change their destiny through personal efforts, and it is also more difficult for future generations to enter the “high-level field” through higher education. Factors such as family background, family economic status and social relations have The influence of personal development is increasing day by day.

Class differentiation: bread or face
Born in a small closed city, it is difficult for young people at the bottom of society to see the day when they are in their early years. Some people have the idea of ​​smuggling in order to survive. German journalist Günter Wallraf has insight into the deep-rooted racism, hypocrisy and cruelty of the ruling class consciousness in German society, and the segregation in the democratic system, and is determined to expose social deception by deception. The forerunner represented by him guides the direction of truth. As the daughter of the former deputy mayor of Taipei City, the British Chinese reporter Bai Xiaohong resolutely gave up her superior life and sneaked into the underground factory wearing a mask, opening a mysterious door to the tragic world for the public and the media. The sweat and tears of mainland migrant sex workers leaving their homes and their unspeakable bitter past flowed between the lines in “Invisible Production Line”.

Fifty-eight illegal immigrants in the Port of Dover died of suffocation in a container truck. 23 Chinese illegal workers who picked up shells drowned in the sea at high tide in Morecambe Bay. The two tragedies that occurred in Britain at the beginning of this century shocked Bai Xiaohong. In the face of such tragedies, British society has always shown an indifferent attitude. The smugglers left their fate in the hands of the “snakehead” and eventually died in a container truck, and their right to survive was brutally cut off by the border. However, the entire tragedy, presented by the British media, has almost become another crime committed by the Chinese against the Chinese. In other words, the British government does not have to bear any responsibility for its immigration policy. Such excuses spread from the sea ferry to the “Chinese community” where immigrants such as processing factories, electronics factories, garment factories, and farms gather. Although the government stated that all workers, regardless of their status and nationality, are protected by health and safety regulations, in fact, the deaths of undocumented migrant workers are often unrecorded.

Globalization has brought about the freedom of capital, and the kingdom of money has attracted countless people, and at the same time it has also put them behind bars. Illegal immigrants use their lives as a bargaining chip to go to an unknown country, but they have no way to enjoy the life they have worked hard with their lives, and their dreams of dreams have vanished in the sinking. People without capital are destined to become a bargaining chip for capital consumption. The world of migrant workers is an unknown bottom world in British society. This underground world supplies the daily needs of mainstream Britain. It is a huge and invisible production line that still exists in mainstream Britain and the “sweatshop age” that has become history. They have no identity, no rights, and no voice. Most of them work in industries that local workers do not want to work in: low-paying, high-risk, and no-prospect jobs. The society as a whole lacks awareness of immigrant groups, and the prejudices of the system acquiesce in the existence of sub-citizens who are so deprived of their dignity, which ultimately mirrors the media’s indifference to such tragedies.

As Bai Xiaohong said, “When you stand in the position of an objective observer, distance may cause you to lose your authenticity.” It is like being asked by the respondent suddenly: “If you have not experienced it yourself, how can you? Really understand how this kind of life is lived?” When she played the role of a laborer, internalized everything around her heart and became a real participant, she experienced the pressure and pressure of her body under the hardship of survival. Mental depression.

Illegal immigrants use their lives as a bargaining chip to go to unknown countries. The prejudice on the system acquiesced to them becoming second-class citizens deprived of their dignity.

Former “Wall Street Journal” reporter in Beijing, Leslie T. Chang, also made similar observations in “Working Girl”. She has lived in China for more than ten years, focusing on exploring how social economic transformation has changed systems and personal stories. . “Going out, migrant workers use this simple word to define their mobile life. There is nothing to do at home, so I went out and the story of going out to work started like this. It is the hardest thing they have ever done to work in the factory from home. The thing is to try a kind of adventure. It is self-esteem, not fear, that keeps them in the city: Going home early is admitting failure. Going out of home and staying outside-going out is to change your destiny.” All she encountered The working girls all have roughly the same experience. They come from the countryside and have little education. They aspire to be part of the factory, do their best to boost the economy on the assembly line, and wait for the time to come.

However, when the smuggled migrant workers return home with a lot of money, they forget the way they came. Why is it so troublesome? Even if you barely fill your stomach, you can’t get rid of the fate of the bottom of society. The solidified thinking of the poor confines them to the line of survival. In fact, in addition to their family background, background, and macroeconomic environment, the essence of poverty is their ambiguous vision of the future. Some people spend their time on meaningless things, in the name of enjoying life, but actually doing nothing. Once they have the so-called wealth, it is not to explore a wider market, obtain more information, and meet people of insight, but to spend a lot of money on face projects, and it is inevitable to compare with the surroundings. In the eyes of some people, money is “spilled water”, and they use it to paint their own face. They received limited money, but lost the time to experience life, and in the end they could not escape the framework of social invisible rules.

However, the reality of embarrassment will not easily defeat optimistic people. The “slash youth” in the workplace should not blame themselves for being too mediocre, and the “996” social animals throughout the year should not blame themselves for not working hard enough. It is worthy of recognition to step out of one’s own comfort zone and to find a new path for one’s ideal life. Poverty or not is often just another person’s point of view or a macroscopic vision. Living infinitely wonderful in a limited life. This kind of accumulation of life capital is often more important than money.

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