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Professor Bo Rothstein thinks giving money to beggars should be banned

"Giving money to beggars is to humiliate them"

"Many think that they are doing the right thing, but it has a bad outcome"
3:45 min
Professor Bo Rothstein says that giving to beggars is humiliating to them and should be banned. Photo: Hasse Holmberg/TT.

Just before the turn of the year Bo Rothstein, professor in Political Science at the University of Gothenburg, wrote an opinion piece in newspaper Dagens Nyheter calling for a ban on giving money to beggars. Last Sunday he defended his viewpoints in a debate on Swedish Television. Rothstein argues that giving money to beggars is contributing to their continued social humiliation and that people instead should give their money to organisations who specialise in helping them. 

Rothstein says that a law banning people from giving money to beggars is similar to the Swedish law that prohibits parents from smacking their children. Neither is very easy to implement, he argues, but both change what is accepted in. 

"People shouldn't be humiliated. They should be helped by structural policies. What I see on Swedish streets these days is constant humiliation of these people, and that's unacceptable ," Rothstein says. 

He goes on saying that instead of giving money to beggars, one should instead give the money to organisations who specialise in helping homeless and poor people. 

"These organisations do what they can to support these people without humiliating them. Think of it this way: If it were your child who had lost all its money, would you want them to beg or get help for an organisation?" Rothstein says. 

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