Alcoholic Exploitation in Amsterdam

alcoholic exploitationAmsterdam has always been known as a chemical-friendly place, but it soon may be more famous for its alcoholic exploitation.

The capital city of the Netherlands has resorted to paying some of its alcoholic employees with beer instead of money.

While many see this as a novel “solution” to employ alcoholics and benefit the city at the same time, it is anything except for a solution.

For a day’s work picking up trash, the employee is given tobacco, beer, a lunch, and 10 euros.

In any other Western nation, this would be the equivalent of slave wages.

Proponents say that the program keeps alcoholics and addicts from hard alcohol, but they miss the point that they are still providing alcohol to alcoholics. Try to pay any other individual on the street the same wages and forms of payment, and it becomes painfully clear that this is, by definition, alcoholic exploitation.

While the company that operates the program, Rainbow Foundation, is private, it is largely government-funded. Critics have said that the money they are spending is being wasted, and that it does nothing to solve the issue of alcoholism and addiction that has made the city famous.

Of course, supporters say this is simply political grandstanding. We, however, are inclined to agree with the critics.

While many supporters agree that alcoholics and addicts cannot simply be told to “shape up,” they fail to realize that not only are they perpetuating the disease of addiction and alcoholic exploitation, but they are preventing them from finding a real way out.

Alcohol is not a currency. A person cannot use that as a means of exchange for other goods or services. So what happens, then, when the alcoholic looking for a real solution is faced with the fact that, really, they make a mere 10 euros a day? That is barely enough to feed oneself, let alone put a roof overhead.

If a person is trying to get sober, the portion of their payment in alcohol is essentially worthless. Since recent research has shown poverty impacts rational decision-making skills, the city is making it harder for those looking for alcohol recovery from finding a way to stop the cycle of addiction.

This is not terribly surprising, though, since this same organization is also responsible for running several government-financed methadone clinics. In methadone clinics, at least the addicts are given resources for treatment, even if they are continuing the problem. However, no such services are being rendered to the alcoholics.

Of course, the government could simply hire alcoholics directly and pay them minimum wage, cutting out the middleman program, and giving real hope and solutions to addicts and alcoholics. Instead, they fund an organization that essentially spends part of the meager wages that the alcoholics make on their behalf on something that is the very bane of their existence. Simply put, they are predators.

Now, if this is not alcoholic exploitation, what is it? Why give slave wages to the most down-trodden in a society, and continue to make their problems worse, rather than provide solutions, or at least treat them like any other person willing to put an honest day’s work in for a paycheck?

Is this really alcoholic exploitation, though?

What are your thoughts? Is this program misunderstood, or is it really the blatant alcoholic exploitation that it appears to be? Let us know in the comments!

Leave a Comment