annals of heartlessness, housing, poverty

Annals of Heartlessness (17): Instrumentalization of the Homeless

homelessness, by Blaine Fontana

homelessness, by Blaine Fontana


A marketing company is using some of Austin’s homeless population as roving pay-as-you-go wireless hotspots during SXSW. The project is called Homeless Hotspots.

Homeless people have been enlisted to roam the streets wearing T-shirts that say “I am a 4G hotspot.” Passersby can pay what they wish to get online via the 4G-to-Wi-Fi device that the person is carrying. (source)

I suppose they get paid, so you could say that we’re doing them a favor. I just happen to think it’s dehumanizing and heartless. In addition, what are the incentives here? Having a homeless person on every corner so as to maximize internet access for the rest of us? And will the homeless in question not be persuaded to remain on the streets even if they have the opportunity to go and live somewhere, given the fact their being homeless is now a job?

This instrumentalization of the homeless is nothing new. Lobbyists pay line-standing companies, who hire homeless people and others to queue up and stand in line overnight on Capitol Hill to hold a place for a lobbyist who wants to attend a congressional hearing: the rate is $15–$20 an hour.

More on instrumentalization. More on homelessness. More in the annals of heartlessness.


4 thoughts on “Annals of Heartlessness (17): Instrumentalization of the Homeless

  1. Pingback: » Анал ен Асс (нов правец у музиката) adamwest

  2. Pingback: Annals of Heartlessness (23): Dissent is Disease | P.a.p.-Blog, Human Rights Etc.

  3. Pingback: Annals of Heartlessness (32): | P.a.p.-Blog, Human Rights Etc.

  4. Pingback: Annals of Heartlessness (34): Dehumanizing the Poor | P.a.p.-Blog, Human Rights Etc.

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