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  • Writer's pictureSam Wilks

Forecasting the Future: Scenarios If the Cloward-Piven Strategy Succeeds




The Cloward-Piven Strategy, originating from a 1966 article by sociologists Richard Cloward and Frances Fox Piven, proposes that the best way to achieve a revolutionary change in society is to overload the existing welfare system to the point of crisis. By creating a scenario where public assistance systems become so overburdened that they collapse, the strategy aims to force the government to implement new, more "equitable" systems of wealth redistribution. This strategy represents a form of ideological possession where the pursuit of ostensibly virtuous goals, like social equity and social justice, masks a deeper, malevolent agenda. This article examines potential future scenarios if the Cloward-Piven Strategy is successful using an interdisciplinary security approach.


Justice and fairness in society hinge on the perception of a balance between providing for the needy and encouraging individual responsibility. Overburdening the welfare system challenges this balance by creating dependency rather than empowerment. If the Cloward-Piven Strategy were to succeed, it would precipitate a crisis that fundamentally questions the sustainability of the current welfare model. The strategy involves overwhelming the welfare system in order to force political change.


In the Northern Territory, where welfare dependency is already a critical issue, the implications would be profound. Indigenous communities, which rely heavily on welfare support, would face unprecedented challenges. The collapse of welfare systems would lead to immediate humanitarian crises with significant violent social and economic repercussions. The ensuing chaos would provide motivation to necessitate urgent government intervention, but the nature and effectiveness of such intervention would ultimately be to impose authoritarianism, incarcerate non-compliance, and confiscate natural resources. By pushing welfare systems to their breaking point, the architects of this strategy aim to destabilise society, creating chaos and dependency. This, they believe, will galvanise public demand for a transformative political solution, ideally leading to the establishment of a more collectivist system.


Economists argue that markets function best when individuals are free to make choices that reflect their preferences and incentives. The Cloward-Piven Strategy's deliberate overburdening of welfare systems would disrupt these market dynamics, leading to severe economic consequences.


Virtue signalling plays a critical role in this process. Advocates of the Cloward-Piven Strategy often cloak their intentions in moral righteousness, portraying their actions as compassionate efforts to aid the disadvantaged. This veneer of virtue serves to deflect criticism and garner support, even as their methods inflict harm on the very populations they claim to champion. The real danger lies in the strategy's manipulation of good intentions to justify coercive and destructive policies, ultimately eroding individual responsibility and freedom.


If welfare systems collapse, the immediate effect would be a sharp increase in poverty and unemployment. In Australia, where the welfare system is a critical safety net, such a collapse would strain other public services, including healthcare, education, and housing. The Northern Territory, with its unique economic challenges, would experience heightened instability. Businesses would face a labour market in turmoil, with increased demand for jobs and reduced consumer spending power. The resultant economic contraction could lead to a prolonged recession, exacerbating social inequalities.


The psychological impact of a welfare system collapse cannot be overstated. The sudden withdrawal of support would lead to widespread fear, anxiety, and despair. Individuals who have depended on welfare for survival would face a loss of security and stability, leading to mental health crises.


In the Northern Territory, where many communities already struggle with high rates of mental illness and substance abuse, the psychological toll would be devastating. The sense of betrayal and abandonment by the government will fuel social unrest, greater crime, and public violence. Protests, riots, and increased crime rates would likely follow as people struggled to meet their basic needs. The resulting social instability would pose significant challenges for law enforcement and public safety. The added violence and instability would lead to a decrease in police enrolment and a massive drop in standards, making it even more difficult to maintain order and protect the community, as the community would lose faith in law enforcement.


As a security professional, I must emphasise the importance of maintaining order and protecting communities during times of crisis. A welfare system collapse would severely test the capacity of security services to manage social unrest and protect vulnerable populations. I have purposely trained some 750+ security personnel in profiling, conscientiousness, and behaviour regulation and will continue to adjust and improve their skills in preparation for potential threats.


The Northern Territory would be particularly vulnerable. The region's remote location and limited infrastructure will hinder the rapid deployment of security forces. Additionally, the cultural and social dynamics of indigenous communities will complicate efforts to restore order and increase the risk for security personnel. The predictable breakdown in trust between these communities and the government will lead to prolonged periods of unrest and instability.


To understand the potential future scenarios, it is instructive to look at historical and contemporary examples where public systems have been overburdened to the point of collapse. The economic collapse of Greece in the early 2010s offers a cautionary tale. Overextended public spending, including generous welfare programs, led to a severe financial crisis. The resulting austerity measures imposed by international creditors caused widespread unemployment, poverty, and violent social unrest. The psychological and social impact on Greek citizens was profound, with increased rates of mental illness and suicide.


Venezuela provides another example where excessive welfare spending led to economic collapse. The government's extensive social programs, funded by oil revenues, became unsustainable as oil prices fell. The collapse of the welfare system led to severe shortages of food and medicine, hyperinflation, and mass migration. The resulting social and economic instability has left the country in a prolonged state of crisis. Many social revisionists have still blamed the issues on tariffs placed on the country by the USA, and yet every credible economist argues that the root cause lies in the mismanagement of resources by the government.


The Northern Territory Emergency Response (often referred to as the Intervention) in 2007 aimed to address social issues in indigenous communities. Despite being well-intentionedly alledged by the media and social commentators, the top-down approach and lack of community involvement resulted in widespread resentment and failure. This intervention highlights the challenges of imposing external solutions on complex social issues and the importance of community engagement and empowerment.


The Cloward-Piven Strategy aims to transform society by destroying welfare systems and increasing public debt. However, sustainable and humane approaches are needed to mitigate its impact. A comprehensive strategy includes strengthening community resilience, promoting economic freedom, and enhancing mental health support. Community-led initiatives focusing on education, job training, and local economic development build resilience and reduce dependency on welfare systems. Policies promoting economic freedom and entrepreneurship help individuals achieve self-sufficiency by reducing regulatory barriers, providing access to capital, and supporting small businesses.


Investing in accessible and culturally sensitive mental health care helps individuals cope with economic instability and reduce social unrest. Reforming welfare systems to provide targeted support, transitioning from cash-based assistance to programs promoting skills development and employment, and involving recipients in program design and implementation may ensure community needs are met. Finally, ensuring security and stability during crises requires a proactive, community-based approach, building trust between law enforcement, security personnel, and communities, especially in remote and marginalised areas.


The Cloward-Piven Strategy's vision of overburdening welfare systems to achieve revolutionary change poses significant risks to social and economic stability. The potential scenarios highlight the profound psychological, economic, and security challenges that will arise from such a collapse.


By learning from historical examples and adopting a more balanced and humane approach to perceived fairness, we can avoid the destructive consequences of overburdened public systems. Strengthening community resilience, promoting economic freedom, enhancing mental health support, reforming welfare systems, and ensuring security and stability are critical steps towards building a more just society. Through these measures, we could create a future where public systems support and empower individuals rather than becoming a source of crisis and instability. Unfortunately, having read several "manifestos" associated with labor policy makers, CLP policy makers, and their associated radical extremist groups, it is clear that their main goal is to sow discord and division rather than promote unity and cooperation. A nation divided seldom recognises corruption.


From the author.


The opinions and statements are those of Sam Wilks and do not necessarily represent whom Sam Consults or contracts to. Sam Wilks is a skilled and experienced Security Consultant with almost 3 decades of expertise in the fields of Real estate, Security, and the hospitality/gaming industry. His knowledge and practical experience have made him a valuable asset to many organizations looking to enhance their security measures and provide a safe and secure environment for their clients and staff.


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