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Crime


Introduction


Crime has been a problem in every human society, and every human society has had to try and come up with a way of dealing with it. Thus far, no one has come up with a perfect solution, and today, with the increasing factors of economic problems, increasing poverty, and city bloat, the need for a better solution has never been greater.

In politics, people each have their own views on how to deal with crime. Some want to be tough on crime, giving more power to the police and tougher sentences for criminals. Others take the approach of trying to help the people committing the crimes in an attempt to solve the problem closer to the source.

Technocracy's solution is, at least as far as crime goes, entirely innovative, and also quite impossible in any Price System economy. It is also, by strange coincidence, largely (but not entirely) a byproduct of its proposals rather than a specific program targeting crime as an issue. Technocracy's design is primarily concerned with other things, but in achieving these other things, the program ends up eliminating 95% of crime without so much as passing any additional laws, hiring more police, or proposing tougher sentences on convicts. How can it possibly do this?

The Root of the Problem


The essence of it lies in understanding the real root of the problem, and how Technocracy deals with that root. The Price System, by its very (unintentional) design, not only allows many types of crime, but also encourages and even rewards it. It make many types of crime possible simply by using a form of exchangeable currency, namely money. With money, it becomes so much easier to steal, embezzle, and bribe than it would be without it. Just like how money makes legal financial transactions so much easier, it also makes crime so much easier as well.

The very nature of a Price System being based in scarcity also has many implications for crime. In a scarcity system such as ours, everyone wants more, and is in fact encouraged to want more, regardless of how much they have. One needs only look at our worship of celebrities and the rich and elite to realize this. Further, a scarcity system almost always has some sort of underclass, poor people who are not getting enough. It is bad enough that most people want to be rich and powerful, but the poor have the additional incentive of simply wanting enough, enough to eat, a decent place to live, access to decent health care, etc.

But aren't these the "incentives" that make our system work, motivating people to work harder within the system so that they can achieve their dreams? Well yes it is, however, with the entire system being scarce, this means that not everyone can have what they want, or even what they need, and this end up pushing many of them to look for "alternative" ways of getting what they want. In many cases, this ends up being resorting to crime.

It isn't simply the poor that have this motivation, however. Even people in blue-collar, white-collar, or even better jobs are often "limited" in their incomes to some degree, and often opportunities arise for them to greatly enhance their livelihoods via these "alternative" methods. Take the example of a member of US congress for instance, who finds that by voting a certain way on a proposed bill, a certain company will benefit from it, and is willing to offer "compensation" for their cooperation. Said member of congress now has to weigh the many factors involved to decide whether or not it is worth it to do so. Some may accept, some will not. The point is that that system both encourages and rewards that person for successfully getting away with the crime. See the recently linked article on ethical motivations to see how these economic ans social pressures can play out in a person's mind.

Technocracy's Approach


Technocracy's approach however can, as stated before, eliminate about 95% of this. How is this possible? Put simply, by eliminating both the incentive to do so, as well as the mechanism by which such crime is possible. In other words, in a Technocracy, it is neither profitable nor possible to commit most crimes.

Example 1: Eliminate money

This is probably one of the biggest contributors to the reduction in crime. As shown elsewhere on the site and in Technocracy literature, Technocracy uses a form of economic distribution called Energy Accounting instead of the scarcity-based method of exchange we use currently, and does not use currency. As a result, it becomes a lot more difficult to steal from others. If someone takes your wallet, all they would get out of it is a new wallet, an perhaps an ID card that is useless to them, and maybe some pictures. All transactions in the primary economy would be handled electronically today, so things such as robbing banks or stores for cash would also be impossible (aside from the fact that would be no bank in a Technate, nor "stores" as we know them). All manners of theft would have to be in the form of taking actual objects, which makes it much harder to get any significant amount. How is this prevented then? See the next example.

Example 2: Eliminate Scarcity

Economists will tell you that scarcity exists in all societies. While currently true, it does not have to be. This little problem is solved primarily with high-energy technology, and we've been using this technology for about a century now. The only reason we still have scarcity in all things is because while we have updated our method of production to a post-agrarian, industrial model, we have not updated our economic system to match. That's right, we are still using the same pre-industrial, agrarian economic system that was invented thousands of years ago. Sure, there have been many changes over the centuries, but it is still the same basic premise of exchanging goods and services for other goods and services using a scarce medium of currency.

Technocracy was specifically designed to distribute the abundance that modern technology can create (if we let it) without causing harm to the economy. By updating our economic system to an appropriate one for post-scarcity (aka abundance), many advantages can be had. One of these is the elimination for the incentive for most crime.

Going back to the previous example of stealing someone's wallet, to what advantage would this be when you can easily get one of your own? For that matter, why steal a television, or any other personal possessions of another when you can walk into any distribution centre (or even just order it online), ask for what you want, and leave with it (or have it delivered to you) for no cost? When everyone has enough consuming power to get more than they can possibly consume (how this is possible is another discussion), there is nothing that anyone else can have that you can possible want. Even in the unlikely situation where someone only wishes to deprive someone else of something they have, that person can easily get another to replace it, making the gesture little more and a minor inconvenience.

Of course, as many will surmise, not everything can be mass-produced, and some things will indeed remain scarce, such as original paintings for instance. The point of this is not that this trait of a Technocratic society will eliminate theft, embezzlement, and bribery, but rather that it will reduce it very, very significantly. Does not that make it worthwhile to anyone concerned with crime?

Now there remains other questions, such as, where does that 95% figure come from? And what about crimes like assault, rape, and murder?

The figure comes from the FBI's own research on crime, which has determined that 95% of all crime can be categorized as "crimes against property." This includes theft, bribery, embezzlement, fraud, and gambling. Even many assaults and murders are committed either during the commission of a theft or robbery, or as a means to achieve them.

The remaining 5% includes crimes of pure violence not related to money or property. These would likely remain, to some degree at least, in a Technate. These crimes would be treated as medical issues, either psychological or pathological, and the persons committing such crimes would be treated as patients that needed to be cured, not prisoners that need to be punished. With the combination of advanced technology and science, greater resources due to abundance, and less drain on resources due to the 95% reduction in crime, we can spend a lot more time, effort, and resources on helping these people get better, and thus likely be far more efficient than today's obsolete punitive practices.