11-01-07 - 4

Crime is not an evil of society that should be stamped out. Crime is much like revolution and terrorism - it is a natural balancing force in society which should rise and fall depending on conditions. When the normal pathways of civilization provide opportunities for people to be prosperous, they will naturally take those pathways and turn less to crime. When those pathways are not available, they turn to crime. In particular, in a society with a very few super rich and a huge very poor population, it is only natural and appropriate for the poor to take from the rich. This is hardly even "crime" in a naturalistic sense - it is for the benefit of society as a whole, and the majority of the people would approve.

Fear of crime is a legitimate motivating factor for the rich to not treat the poor too badly. It has been so throughout history. A good feudal lord would know that he needs to treat his serfs with a certain degree of kindness and generosity or they will rise up against him. A social structure only exists through the will of the people, and crime is the enforcing factor. At some point the poor become so desperate and hopeless that getting caught or punished doesn't seem that bad, while stealing from the rich could feed their family. The rich can protect themselves with armed guards and gates (as they do in many parts of the world today), but that has a high social and economic cost of its own, which should motivate them to try to help the poor which will reduce crime.

An unfortunate problem is that criminals are not very well aimed. The natural crime balancing system only requires a few criminal acts, and they only need to be committed by the poor against the rich. Typically there is a massive buildup of petty crime, which doesn't really serve any social balancing purpose that I can think of, before it reaches the point of a real anti-society uprising.

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old rants