One of the most interesting concepts I’ve taken from Scott Adams book God’s Debris, is that laws are made for the common good of society as certain behaviour is detrimental to the community for a number of reasons.
Whilst on the surface this is a reasonably obvious statement, I’ve spent an increasing amount of time thinking about this. Things that don’t work for society have punishments attached, and there’s a whole hidden economy here - for simplicity’s sake, I’ll call it Naughty Tax.
If you’re running late for an important business meeting, you might weigh up the cost of a speeding fine versus how important the meeting is (and what impact there is of being late). This is a fairly common example, and shows that most people might make this comparison every day. Taking this a little further, you might regularly speed through streets on the basis that the percentage of times you get caught and the penalties are worth it for the convenience gained by doing what you want to.
There’s a potential mindset here for individuals to consider the legal system less as a system of denouncing certain behaviour, but rather as a tax for doing what you like. We’ve all heard of the phrase stating that the rich keep on getting richer, and if you think about it in this context - the rich have a much higher capability of paying naughty tax, therefore the equation balances in their favour.
Right about now, I should probably note that I’m in no way advocating anything such as child exploitation, murder or rape - these are things that violate my personal code, and I think should be ‘taxed’ to the highest amount (long jail term, etc).
Likewise, if this behaviour were to become the norm - this behaviour would cause exactly the type of effect that the laws were introduced to stop, impacting on society in a negative way.
It would be interesting to see what society would be like if instead of condemning behaviour in the current manner, it was generally regarded as a tax - would the tax be higher to stop people from doing it then? Because If that were the case, then today’s tax is clearly not high enough - because we can already make the choice to break the law.
I’ll leave you all to ponder the rammifications of that one :)