The Connection Between “Crime” and Hope

The consistent and simultaneous fall in violent ‘crime’ rates for the USA, and pretty much every other developed country, over the last 20 years has baffled many ‘experts’. They have offered a multitude of often conflicting explanations for this phenomena ranging from a reduction in childhood exposure to lead, an older population, better policing, legalized abortion to longer prison sentences. But there are two major problems with almost all of their explanations.

1. They assume that A leads to B. For example- Low ‘IQ’ = more ‘criminal’ behavior or longer prison sentences = fewer ‘felons’ on the street.

2. More importantly, they assume that ‘crime’ is not a manifestation of something far more deep-seated.

Let us start by trying to define what ‘crime’ is, and is not. What make something a crime, anyway? Is it the net negative effect of an action or behavior or is it something else. I have partially answered that particular question in one of my older posts- How Laws and Legalism Destroy Societies, but let me summarize it thus:

All ‘crimes’ are defined by laws, rules and regulations rather than by their actual impact on society.

Here are a few examples. Consider prostitution, which at its core is an exchange of sex for money. Why is it illegal in some countries such as the USA? Is the exchange of sex for money in prostitution fundamentally different from a similar exchange occurring in the course of a marriage, cohabitational relationship or during the creation of a pornographic film? Or take drugs like marijuana or opiates.. isn’t all the criminality associated with them due to the fact that they are illegal in the first place rather than their effect on human behavior? What about the onerous rules and regulations associated with living in gated communities? Do they serve any purpose other than mollifying the egos of a few prissy bitches with control issues? What about laws and rules used by monopolies to extract rent or hinder competition? You get the general idea..

Which brings me to another point I made in that post

Laws are made by those with power for maintaining and extending their parasitic behaviors.

All ‘crimes’ should therefore be seen as attempts by the less-powerful to do what the more-powerful are already doing. Don’t believe me? Here are some examples: The system labels you as a ‘murderer’ if you kill another human being, but it is OK if you are a cop- even if you killed the ‘wrong’ person. Similarly, a death caused by a negligent or greedy doctor will almost never result in prosecution, but try doing that if you don’t have an ‘official’ medical license. Or consider how easy it is for a business to declare bankruptcy and stiff its creditors as compared to doing the same via personal bankruptcy.

Which brings us to one of the more peculiar question about the motivations behind committing ‘crimes: What combination of factors, circumstances and conditions makes the risk of getting caught worth the potential payoff?

A few of you might say that people who commit ‘crimes’ do so because they cannot accurately assess the risks because of their supposedly low ‘IQ’, poor future time-orientation or some other assorted bullshit reason. I think otherwise because the very fact that laws, rules, regulations, penalties and prisons have been unable to stop ‘crime’ suggest that there is something else driving the need to do what they do.

I believe that all ‘crime’ is driven by the HOPE for a better future.

People sell sex and drugs because they want to have more money and a better life tomorrow. Organised crime exists because its members can reasonably expect more income and a better lifestyle in the future. Also note that ‘criminals’ always try to maximize their life-expectancy and profit rather than go all out nihilistic and watch the world burn. Even revolutions require a significant degree of belief in a better future, and this is why people revolt on the streets in Turkey, Brazil and Egypt but not the USA, Germany or Canada.

I therefore see ‘crime’ as an expression of hope in the future of that society.

‘Crime’ rates in the USA were high during the 1960s-1980s because those who committed ‘crimes’ had high hopes of a better future. Similarly the high rates of ‘crimes’ in South- and Central- American countries should be seen as an expression of faith in the future viability of those societies. It is also no accident that low-crime societies like Japan, South Korea, Germany, Switzerland, Sweden etc are also full of people who have no hope for a better future. If you don’t believe me, just look at their fertility rates. How else do you explain the decision of so many people who live comfortable and relatively safe lives in paternalistic societies to not have kids?

They have already figured out (at some level) that their rigid and formulaic societies do not offer a realistic chance for a better future. However they are also not opting for suicide without a pretty good reason. So they just go through the motions of being alive in a somewhat detached manner, if only to keep up the appearance of systemic vitality and purpose.

We also cannot forget the role of modern-medical technology, especially contraception, in enabling this to occur on a scale unthinkable in any previous era. In those eras, surplus fertility would have quickly provided new suckers to replace the disenchanted and world-weary. However, that is not the case today and not just in the more affluent countries. Even the less affluent ones such as India, China, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Mexico and Brazil have fertility rates that are near, at or below replacement levels. We just don’t have that seemingly infinite supply of new suckers anymore.

What do you think? Comments?

  1. StevieM
    June 19, 2013 at 6:43 pm

    Crime is lack of hope. Some of the most dangerous places have little or no hope. Haiti..Some parts of Africa. Personally I believe the rampant prisons and policing have little effect but its not hope.

  2. webe
    June 20, 2013 at 12:46 am

    Crime as an expression of hope … a creative angle, and very true as well.
    TV series are full of heroes throwing away the rule book for a greater good.
    I recall reading a multi-year large-scale study of crime in England in the eighties and nineties which concluded that most criminals share the same norms and values as society at large, and will rise to do their civic duty if the police are looking for a rapist or a serial killer. Their motivation? (hold your breath …)? Money. How about stopping their behaviour? Most stopped when they got a job and/or a girlfriend.

    I agree almost completely: Not all crime is hope. Some is despair. And some is just random violence, thuggery, psychopoathy.

    • P Ray
      June 21, 2013 at 8:01 am

      How about stopping their behaviour? Most stopped when they got a job and/or a girlfriend.
      The punchline to your statement:
      Across this foreboding landscape bloom the beauty queens. The Miss Mexico title has been won seven times by the tall fine-featured women of Sinaloa. And beauty queens and drug lords have been drawn to each other for as long as the illegal narcotics trade has flourished in Sinaloa.
      “Do you want beauty queens who are not involved in the state’s dominant industry? Look for them in heaven,” said Nery Cordova, a local university professor and author of “Narcoculture in Sinaloa.”
      El Chapo married a beauty queen — his latest wife.
      Miss Sinaloa 2008 was forced to give up her crown after soldiers caught her and her boyfriend, an alleged cartel leader, with an arsenal of guns and wads of cash in a tale that inspired the acclaimed 2011 Mexican film, “Miss Bala” — Miss Bullet.

      Remember guys, Beauty LOVES the Beast! 🙂

  3. webe
    June 22, 2013 at 5:57 am


  4. June 22, 2013 at 4:46 pm

    Your thesis seems to be: crime is less now than in the sixties because people had more hope back then. Maybe what follows from this: when people are depressed they don’t commit crimes. I don’t buy it, but it did lead me to wonder about the effect on crime due to the staggering increase in the use of prescribed anti-depressants between the 60’s and today.

    Anti-depressant usage is not constant across developed countries. It is actually quite low in some of them, especially in comparison to countries like the USA.

  5. June 22, 2013 at 4:49 pm

    Wilhelm Reich : “What has to be explained is not the fact that the man who is hungry
    steals or the fact that the man who is exploited strikes, but why the majority of those who are
    hungry don’t steal and why the majority of those who are exploited don’t strike.”

    • P Ray
      April 15, 2016 at 10:49 pm

      I could answer his question for you:
      The guys who are hungry (and don’t steal) and who are exploited (but don’t strike) … have families.
      Going to jail would doom their families – whom they deeply care about (or probably their only sexual outlet, unless they prefer man’s chocolate starfish).

      But in those conservative days, talking about (keeping their existing) sex as a driving factor … is probably something white people are a bit slow to talk about. Remember, they didn’t want to be like the animalistic coloured races! 🙂

  1. October 13, 2014 at 4:47 am
  2. November 3, 2014 at 4:57 am
  3. August 8, 2019 at 6:02 pm

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