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Respekt: Czechs’ aversion to poor is big poverty-related problem

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Prague, Nov 22 (CTK) – Labour and Social Affairs Minister Michaela Marksova is trying to deal with some shortcomings of the social system, but she does not mention one of the major poverty-related problems, which is the Czechs’ aversion to the poor, Marek Svehla writes in weekly Respekt out on Monday.
The Czechs may not be such racists as data on their relations with Romanies indicate, but they dislike those who are different, and very poor people are “different” and inconvenient, Svehla writes.
Paradoxically, the Czech Republic has been prospering, the Czechs have been growing rich and improving their lives, while at the same time, the number of families who have problems to pay for their and their children’s basic essentials, such as regular meals and necessary clothing, has been rising, Svehla writes.
He writes that according to a Median poll, there are more than one million people in the Czech Republic with a population of 10.5 million who are unable to cover these basic essentials.
Svehla writes that the number of people who are unable to rent a flat because of their debts for the previous rent or energies, distraints, a lack of money to pay a bail or racial discrimination, or who have problems orienting themselves in the housing market has been growing. In the better case, these people end up in dormitories.
In excluded localities, children, whom the state is unable to help, live with these people, or their parents. The families do not have money to transport their children to school or to pay for regular lunches and the state, regions or municipalities do not systemically support them, Svehla writes.
He writes that the socially excluded families do not have money for their children’s after-school activities which are now a common part of education, they do not have money for the Internet, which is an important medium for the official, labour and educational agenda.
Svehla writes that non-government social services, which would help the poor, are scarce and their staff are badly paid.
The long-time unemployment largely contributes to poverty. According to the Median poll, two fifths of people have resigned themselves to any effort to overcome poverty, Svehla writes.
He writes that the people themselves are naturally often responsible for their condition, though many simply had bad luck. However, the modern European state can hardly reconcile itself to stating this, and especially if children are involved.
It has been a good European tradition to look for the causes of chronic poverty and to try to remove them because the phenomenon harms society as a whole, Svehla writes.
However, Marksova’s Social Democracy (CSSD), which is socially “sensitive,” is doing nothing to benefit the poor, it only seeks voter support, Svehla writes.
The CSSD defends the interests of the spoilt trade union members, not workers left at the mercy of job agencies. Instead of securing the best possible education for children, the Social Democrats support the owners of firms who are calling for pushing the “ungifted” children away from further education so that they may have enough passive workers for their production lines, Svehla writes.
The CSSD supports President Milos Zeman who has modified the Bolshevik slogan “who does not work shall not eat” to read “who does not work shall not receive welfare benefits,” Svehla writes.
He writes that the state is naturally no charity. It only pursues a policy that is generally beneficial. But it could strive through an active, though not cheap policy, for developing the talent of children who would otherwise end up in the indifferent emptiness just as their parents.
This would benefit all, Svehla writes.

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