Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Question three

This is the third ethical question. See the first question for instructions.

3. Orwell writes, "A beggar, looked at realistically, is simply a business man, getting his living, like other business men, in the way that comes to hand. He has not, more than most modern people, sold his honour; he has merely made the mistake of choosing a trade at which it is impossible to grow rich."

Do you agree or disagree with this statement? Why?

16 Comments:

Anonymous Emily McGeachy said...

I disagree with this statement. I believe those who choose to be “beggars” are lazy and deserve to get nothing in life. Even though most situations of why they are in that position vary, I will almost bet they could find some kind of job to sustain themselves reasonably. There must be a job, somewhere in the world, that they could manage to do. Even if the income is not the best, it is income. In a beggar’s living he has sold his honour. Honour is when you try your best to achieve comfort and closure in knowing that you are willing to be positively active in society.

10:06 AM  
Anonymous Jeff Pritchard said...

I sum what agree with Emily on this one, I feel that it is their responsibility to support themselves without the help of others money. For the most part it is not that they can not find a job but it is that they choose not to look. This kind of behavior is not that of a business man and is one more becoming of someone who has given up on themselves.

5:04 PM  
Anonymous Katherine Moody said...

I agree with Emily that beggars are lazy but I believe they deserve what they have chosen to get out of life and nothing more. In the quote he says that beggars haven't sold their honor any more than the rest of us and I disagree with that. I think that sitting on a street corner holding up a sign asking for pity is very dishonorable, while doing manual labor all day to bring home money to support your family is something to be respected and honored. I don't see how being a beggar makes it that much more difficult to become rich than any other job.

7:57 AM  
Anonymous nichole peterson said...

Well, I agree with the others to an extent. Yes, a beggar could just be a worthless, lazy person who doesn’t try to be anything better in life, but maybe there is a reason behind why he is there.
Maybe he lost everything somehow. You don’t really know the story as to why they are there. It often is really hard to get a job too. Back home, some of my friends applied everywhere, and couldn't get even the crappiest job. In America, I think it would be really hard to get a job if all you had were the clothes on your back, since most places have some kind of dress code, and that isn’t very presentable.
Don’t get me wrong, I have been fooled by “homeless” people in Washington DC. I gave the annoying guy some change, thinking maybe I did something good (and I just wanted to get rid of him). Only to see him walking down an alleyway, talking on the cell phone a few minutes later.
Katherine said that it’s more dishonorable to sit on a corner asking for money than work manually to bring money home. A manual job, especially if you get higher up in coporate, could be just as degrading. You could be sitting behind a desk all day, how boring is that? Or if you don’t like what you do, but its your only option. In corporate retail jobs, you are told how to dress, talk, and basically act while you are “on the floor”, and “the customer is always right!”. If a customer got upset with me telling them they couldn’t return something, I litteraly gave them all of their money back. It could’ve been worn, torn, washed, or whatever. What I personally thought, didn’t matter. They are right. Or telemarketing. I took a job doing that for a day during the 2004 Presidential Campaign, as extra help. I was for Bush, as was most of the workers, but the boss for Kerry. People asked our opinion, “Who are you voting for?”, I would say,”If I could vote, it’d be for Bush”, and they would leave it at that. For a job you often have to change your morals, to make it by. Others weren't so nice. I also would get yelled and cussed at like every other phone call, just for doing my job. It was horrible. I would rather sit on a corner, holding a sign asking for money, than go back to that job.

8:53 AM  
Anonymous Jessi Campbell said...

I do agree with some statements in this quote, but not all. A beggar is a business man, yes, but not one with pride, dignity or honor. He has sold his honor more than most modern people, because where is there honor sitting on a corner begging? These men play on emotions, faking injuries and also keeping pets with them. There is no honor in cheating people, as beggars do. Most beggars do have homes, sometimes really nice ones, are not real war vets, do not have real injuries. I agree with Emily that they could find some kind of job, even the gross ones.

10:22 AM  
Anonymous Haley Goetz said...

I agree with the other responses that being a beggar is selling a person’s honor. However, the way that Orwell depicted the rough times in Paris, and showed the difficulty there was in finding a job, I would see a beggar (at that time) as a businessman. People were constantly looking for jobs at the time and continuously getting turned down. So, what other choice did a man have but to beg for money? Sure, he may not have been respected by passers, but that was his way of getting by in life. If I were in a position of searching for work every day of every week and having no employer hire me, I’d do the same in order to eat at the end of the day.
Changing my viewpoint to modern times in the United States, I don’t look at beggars as businessmen. I know the opportunities out there, and I realize that any kind of person can get a job and not have to beg others for money. An individual may be stuck working behind the counter of a McDonald’s, but hey, that’s a heck of a lot better than sitting on a corner begging for change.
During the times of Orwell, people struggled getting hired, and got by the best they could, even if it did mean begging others for loose change. But now that there are opportunities out there for every type of person, I find no reason to witness an individual giving up his honor on a street corner. America is a better country than that, and that’s why I find it difficult to donate my money to laziness.

1:49 PM  
Anonymous Alison Elwell said...

The way George Orwell states this quote, he makes it seem like what he says is so “matter-of-fact”. Personally, I do not fully agree or disagree with this statement. A beggar I suppose is a businessman. There are no regulations about how much education you need to call yourself a business man, no degree of job you must have, etc. to become a business man, there is also no particular field you must go into, instead, one gets to choose what he/she would like to do. Therefore, a beggar could be considered a businessman.

Instead of working on a steady payroll, making a certain amount per hour or income based on commission, beggars still get their living by, well, “begging” for money.

It isn’t until the second half of the statement where I disagree. I believe that begging is not so honorable. Either trying for an education or enrolling yourself in a steady job, working towards earning a pay check is more honorable. Honor is based on a personal feeling towards (in this case) the work ethics you posses, but also how the world views a person and the work ethics they have. Begging others for money they have worked for is not only a poor shadow on the beggar himself, but also is a poor shadow on all beggars to society.

Also, becoming a beggar is not a mistake. It is rather a choice because a mistake is an error in action or judgment caused by poor reasoning and/or carelessness. Becoming a beggar is not an error. Becoming a beggar is a choice. A beggar could easily get up the next morning and fill out many applications for jobs that have reasonable pay.

Lastly, one must ask what the definition of being “rich” is. Is it a certain cash value, an amount of knowledge, belongings, etc? If you have $900,000 are you poor, and $1,000,000 are you rich? I do not believe it is “impossible (as Orwell states)” to grow rich when you have the occupation of being a beggar, in fact, it is even possible to make a reasonable amount of money in a pretty lame way.

4:37 PM  
Anonymous cody rose said...

3. I do agree with this statement. The beggars had a system of how to survive in London, and that was the work they did day in and day out. Each beggar had his own code of ethics in where he would stay and eat and travel. (For instance, there was the one man who would not accept food at a church.) He was himself and what you saw was the real man, not someone acting like another.

4:49 PM  
Anonymous Beccah Maier said...

In modern times, being a beggar can be either a choice or a burden. Yes, there are those people who get up in the morning, take off expensive pajamas and put on dirty clothes, but then there are those who also have tried and gotten only bad times. There are some beggars who have tried to get jobs, and like Nichole said, there could be so many circumstances that we don’t know about. Someone could have a disability preventing them from being able to work, either physical or mental. Some people who only have those clothes on their backs have a rough time of getting a job when you need to look presentable in the first place.
Or, in some vain attempt to preserve honor they refused to go look at McDonalds or something and then slowly ran out of money.
I think if someone has the means they should apply to wherever they can, and everywhere they can think of. Some people do give up after a while, but many of them have tried and tried and been turned down for so many jobs. Not everyone has a great up bringing, and have fallen into some hard times or made mistakes in their lives.
Some of these people do not have even the basic skills needed, or the money to go to school to acquire them.
Some people just need a break, and they beg. I will not give beggars money. I will only give them food, since that is what they need the most- food to live.
If they have an animal sitting there with them then maybe they lost a job and were already not living very well. Maybe they somehow lost their house or apartment. Maybe they lost everything.
There are so many aspects to think about and take into consideration when you see a beggar and call them plain lazy.
In old Paris, in our book, you can plainly read how tough it was to get a job, so then, choosing to be a beggar, or being forced into being a beggar, was really a business. That was the only way some people could earn enough to buy even a piece of bread to survive.

7:10 PM  
Anonymous Trent Panasuk said...

I highly disagree with Orwell’s opinion. I believe that beggars are just plain, outright lazy. These people that decide to sit around on the streets and ask for money have gotten exactly what they have worked for. Beggars are in no way whatsoever businessmen. Businessmen have plans, outlooks, speculations, and theories on what and how things should be done in the trade that they take part in. Businessmen also work hard at what they do, and put in hard work to accomplish the goals that are set by the business they work for. Beggars on the other hand do next to nothing trying to earn some money. I do not have any sympathy for people such as these who ask for money while effusing to go and look for a job. Because there are so many businesses that are looking to hire people, there is no excuse for beggars not to have a job and earn a decent living. I may sound harsh or cruel in my comments, but there is no excuse for laziness. No matter what the circumstances, there is a way if you try hard enough. It doesn’t matter what you look like or even how you dress, somewhere you can find a business that will hire you. From being a stock boy to a garbage man, many places are looking for people to work. There are numerous places for homeless to go and get themselves back on their feet from whatever caused them to be homeless in the first place. So as I said before, there is no excuse for laziness and that is why I believe beggars have gotten exactly what they have worked for.

7:25 PM  
Anonymous Josh McClain said...

I disagree with this statement almost whole-heartedly. It’s like the saying goes, “beggars can’t be choosers,” that is the way that life goes. If you choose to be a beggar, then you are basically screwed money-wise. So I somewhat agree with Emily’s statement, but not to the point where I think that beggars should get absolutely nothing in life. I think that is a kind of harsh statement, but it is in a way true. They really don’t get anything money wise, and they don’t have very much dignity in what they do. Although there may be a chosen few who do have some dignity in their begging ways, I would imagine that most beggars in the world do not have very much dignity in begging for a living, due to the fact that it is brutal work. Everyone knows just how hard it is to try and beg one of your friends or family members to get something they have, that you want. So some beggars may be proud of what they can get and what they do get. In a way, I agree with what Trent says when he brings up what a businessman does in a day, how he has plans laid out and how he has outlooks, and theories and whatnot to how his business should be run. How many beggars have their days planned out? I think that is a valid question to bring up when you are thinking about this very legitimate question.

7:25 PM  
Blogger Luke Mahlen said...

This is a very complicated statement. To a point it is true. I have read and researched on the internet about people who are professional beggars in big cities like New York. They dress up in rags and sit on the street and beg for money all day and at the end of the day they walk around the corner and get in their new car. It has been known that people have made up to three or four hundred dollars a day begging. However, this is a drastic point and in almost all cases is not true at all. In most cases people who have to beg for money have lost everything they own do to drugs, alcohol, gambling, and many other situations. In these situations it is not true to call them a business man. They have given up on working or finding a job and instead decided the escape out the easy way. Anyone can find a job if they have the will to get back on their feet and work hard. In the beginning it would be extremely hard, but in the end they are participating in society like every other business person. In the end a beggar is someone who has settled for less, so he or she doesn’t have to work nearly as hard. Begging should never be considered a career.

7:32 PM  
Anonymous maria pettersson said...

To claim that beggars are just like every other businessman is the same as saying that a thief is. If you don’t put any effort in to making money, you’re not a businessman. Begging for money should be everybody’s last way out. There are a lot of things you can try before you get to that point where you loose you dignity by begging. I agree with Haley that it seems to be very hard to find a job in Paris at that time and I can only imagine what a horrible experience it must be to starve and try to find a job at the same time, I mean I know how cranky I am when I haven’t eaten for a while.

I believe it is easier to be poor these days. Look at the people in the “Is America number one” movie we watched in Introduction to Business, the people claimed they were poor but they had cable TV.
There is a job for everybody if they want to. The sad part is that people are too lazy. To name an example, many people in Sweden think that taking for example a job as a housekeeper is shameful; instead they live on the social contribution from the government.

I agree with Luke; begging should never be considered a career.

9:07 PM  
Anonymous Jessy Peterson said...

I agree with Luke once again. The fact that some beggars actually have lost everything in a tragic accident or whatever may have happened, i think is a rare occasion. Many of the beggars that you encounter are just being lazy. I feel that if they actually wanted to do something about their situation they could. America is the land of equal opportunity employment, anyone can get a job. I would never consider the "profession" of begging honorable. I would only respect the beggar if they had been put in that situation not by there own will. Only if there was nothing they could have done to avoid the problem that got them there. I would respect them if they had done everything they could to avoid being there.

9:13 PM  
Anonymous Arjun Chatterjee said...

yeah i kind of agree to emily here, but only to a certain extent. There have been many people who have been force to beg because of their circumstances. But yes those who choose a life of begging may be called lazy and deserve to get nothing in life, because one may if he has thedesire to achieve things even by begging.

12:26 AM  
Blogger Cecilia Patton said...

Begging can be considered honorable in situations and dishonorable in another.i.e. A parent/caregiver may find themselves in a dire situation with their loved ones well- being at stake, and made need to beg up on a couple bucks, maybe to feed the family, health issues, or simply trying to get money to get the kids to school or drs. app. etc.. There is honor in putting yourself aside and doing what needs to be done, begging is the least harmful way to get something from another person. There are truly more desperate ways to something from someone else.
Now on the dishonorable side of the coin. There are those who use people in dishonest ways and that's what makes it dishonorable. At the end of the day i look and it like this, I am not here to judge anyone. Nor am I going to try and rationalize your situation. If I have it to give, I'll give it and if I don't, I can't. And that's that.

3:39 PM  

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