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Amsterdam Alcoholics Paid In Beer For Collecting Litter

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http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-25548061

A group of alcoholics are being paid in beer to clean the streets of Amsterdam as part of a project partly funded by the Dutch government.

The organisers think other countries should abandon "old-fashioned political correctness" and adopt the same approach.

Rene scours the streets, grasping at discarded wrappers.

His movements are fuelled by a tangible pride. It is an unfamiliar emotion for a man whose alcohol addiction has cost him so much.

"I have four children and three ex-wives, but alcohol has finished everything. I don't see them, they don't know where I am, or if I am alive. Now I have only him. He is there for 30 years, when times are good and bad, he is always there," he says, referring to his habit.

His affectionate gaze travels downwards. It rests on an aluminium can.

Chronic alcoholics have congregated inside a communal space, commandeered by the Rainbow Group. It is a private but primarily government-funded company, which helps those struggling to cope due to homelessness, drug abuse or alcoholism.

An interesting idea.

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Good idea. With the legalizing of cannabis in Uruguay and a couple of US states are we finally seeing a victory of common sense over dogma?

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When I was in local government and had the 'honour' of exercising the Councils functions under the Public Health (Control of Diseases) Act 1984 I used to do the same thing to get alcoholics with resistant TB to turn up for their dose of antibiotics at the hospital. We worked out when they would be most gasping for a drink (5-6 days after giro day) and got them to come in for £10 paid out of the TB welfare fund providing they took their medicine ;)

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Oh briilliant. Tramps with resistant TB loose on the streets and spitting on them. Last time I go to the High Street.

What happened to the good old days of scooping diseased people off the street and then throwing them in asylums?

Cost

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I have concerns.

If beer is being used as payment, then beer duty is basically an income tax. And a very highly regressive income tax.

A fair rate of pay would be some 60 cans of beer per hour, for earnings below the income tax threshold.

(I personally think the unemployed should be allowed to pay council tax in labour - and part of me thinks that part of the council tax should only be payable in labour, so that everyone has to work for the community).

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(I personally think the unemployed should be allowed to pay council tax in labour - and part of me thinks that part of the council tax should only be payable in labour, so that everyone has to work for the community).

That's a very interesting idea.

So what work would you have people doing?

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That's a very interesting idea.

So what work would you have people doing?

You could give them multiple options such as gardening, cleaning, litter picking, painting. You could have them provide help in times of need such as severe weather; stacking sand bags, shoveling snow and so on. You could even let the public vote on projects that they themselves would carry out.

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