THE PAUPER INEBRIATE: A NOTE ON THE ETIOLOGY OF POVERTY

E. CLAUDE TAYLOR
1905 Addiction  
THE extent to which alcohol is the cause of that condition of poverty which leads to entry into the workhouse is difficult accurately to gauge. The following replies to a series of questions circulated among the medical officers of the London workhouses show that the influence is large. The statements, however, must be taken, as they are, as estimates, which therefore will vary by reason of the personal equation. At present no "cause" is tabulated by the Board of Guardians for the condition of
more » ... overty that leads a person to apply for indoor relief. There are but two questions: Is he destitute? and Is he willing to come inside? It would give the nation much valuable knowledge if in each case the cause were entered ; not using such a vague phrase as "could not find work," but probing further to the sort of work that the applicant had performed, whether it had been regular, skilled or unskilled, and the reason why he had left his last occupation, with, of course, special reference to his habits, whether (a) sober, (b) temperate, (c) drinking. In the case of old people whose children ceased to support them, the inquiry might extend to the reason for this along similar lines to the above, and, again, with reference to children or wives deserted by the father. It may be objected that time, and therefore money, would be expended over these inquiries ; but if the ruinous extent to which alcohol impoverishes the nation were thus more obviously presented to our too blind countrymen another impulse would be lent to the forces which would render the present overwhelming temptations to drink less hopelessly prevalent.
doi:10.1111/j.1360-0443.1905.tb05214.x fatcat:ul53mzsgbjc2lhinsk3tspotqu