Organized crime has been around ever since the development of government. There is no nation in the world today that is free of organized crime. In some cases, the criminal organization is closer to being a government than the recognized government. Organized crime is very powerful and very rich. But it isn’t just one organization. There are many criminal organizations in the world today.
So how can anyone assert that with a particular solution organized crime will cease to exist in any economy that adopts that solution? What is special about the solution that relates to crime? The very features of of money in Copiosis preclude its use in organized criminal activities. For example, Money in Copiosis is moral. It cannot be acquired by doing bad things. But let us assume that organized crime can force, somehow, the Payers to give them money. Wouldn’t that permit organized crime to continue?
Doesn’t organized crime flourish in order to get money? If they are getting money directly from the Payers, they don’t need gambling, prostitution, drugs, extortion, smuggling and so forth to get money. So the crimes would stop for lack of interest.
But since those being paid as a result of coercion of Payers are identified by their accounts, their arrest and conviction would be easy. Therefore coercion of Payers would obviously be a stupid thing to do. But if participants in organized crime are doing it for the money, why deal with people who cannot give them money? Only Payers can credit their accounts. The usual customers of organized crime cannot give them money because money is not transferable to anyone else. It comes into existence when earned and ceases to exist when spent. Therefore, the motivation to try to get money from anyone else is eliminated.
But couldn’t organized crime switch to using the currency of some other economy which still uses the old money forms? Not very well. For one thing, one would have to leave the Copiosis economy to spend it since few would accept it in the Copiosis economy. For another thing, how would customers of organized crime in a Copiosis economy acquire the old money to give to the crime organization? In a Copiosis economy, all property is owned by individuals and every item of property is registered in the computer accounts. Therefore, every bill of the old money would be known to belong to person A and to give it to person B would require transferring ownership of that bill. This would leave a “paper trail” connecting the organized crime person “B” to the customer “A”. Again, enforcement of law would be easy. It would be as if today all organized crime activities were conducted by writing a check.
So if foreign currency will not work, organized crime is reduced to barter. With barter the only property which could be used would be things money can buy. Again, the ownership of those things is also tracked by the computer and thus a trail exists linking the customer to the organization.
So much for conducting business. What about within the organization? How does the organization pay its criminal minions? How does one hire thugs? One cannot use money to pay them since that money is not transferable. One cannot use a foreign currency since the “paper trail” of ownership of that money is present and the employee would have to leave the country to spend it. One cannot use luxuries to bribe them since the computer accounts would record those transfers of ownership as well. So the boss has no way to reward the employees in the illegal organization. Since all organized crime groups are hierarchical and bureaucratic, the only way the bosses can operate is if they can control the rewards of their members. Copiosis money makes such control impossible.
Therefore, though there will still be crime in a Copiosis society, it will not be organized crime.
Having eliminated organized crime, what kinds of crime are left? One major category is what might loosely be called “property crime.” Of course, in one sense all crimes are property crime but most people don’t look upon assault or libel as property crimes. So let us confine ourselves in this case to crimes in which a person’s property is taken by force, stealth, or deception or destroyed by vandalism.
I think we can agree that most property crimes as described above, are motivated by the desire to acquire money. Stolen articles are usually sold soon after being stolen. Now in a Copiosis society money is not transferable so money cannot be stolen. But physical objects can be stolen from their rightful owners. But can they be sold after being taken illegally? They cannot. Only Payers can increase the thief’s account balance and they are not in the market for Luxury items. Anyone who wanted a stolen item could gain physical possession of the item from the thief but could not pay in money. And having gained possession of a stolen item, they would be holding the evidence of their own crime in receiving stolen goods. Therefore, there would be almost no market for stolen goods. The same argument applies to items taken by force or fraud as well. Property crime simply does not pay in a Copiosis economy.
Since all property is owned by single private persons and the records of that ownership are maintained by the accounts computer system it is very easy for law enforcement agencies to confirm the ownership of items suspected of being stolen. This factor also reduces the motivation to commit property crimes.
That brings us to the theft of intangible items. These items are things like patents, or copyrighted materials. So far as money goes, the creator (writer, composer, or inventor) will be paid for the use their product is put to. It does not matter who spreads the word or how the end user comes to have access to the product. No matter who publishes the book, the author is paid. The only question is who was the author. But that is easy to establish in today’s society for those who post on the internet or save their notes or drafts of chapters and such online. The accounts computer system can easily retain all copies of everything anybody writes or composes or invents. That doesn’t mean there will never be any theft of an idea but it would likely be rare unless one goes out of one’s way to prevent the computer system from having a record of one’s efforts.
Since copyright and patents are to preserve the author’s or inventor’s ability to make money from their works, these features would not exist in a Copiosis economy. The producers of such ideas would be rewarded so long as their works resulted in Net Benefit*, so they would no longer need the protection provided by such laws.
It is hard to say what motivates vandals but one supposes that the predominant mood for all but small children is anger. The Copiosis society does not have the zero-sum simulation traditional economies have that make people feel like enemies. In the Copiosis society, one has the impression that everyone else is a friend because they can all benefit from helping one another. Therefore one would expect less anger, especially from teenagers who would be able to do meaningful work and get paid for it. They would not need permission to work.
But there is another aspect of vandalism. In a Copiosis society the only thing one pays money for is Luxury goods and services. Destruction of any other item would have its cost to the people of the society spread over all of them in one way or another so that it would be only a trivial cost to the immediate victim in money though the inconvenience might be considerably more. In a Copiosis society if a kid rides by on a bicycle and smashes your mailbox with a bat, you will have the inconvenience of replacing the mailbox but it won’t cost you any money and someone else may replace it for you to earn some money. People are so nice in a Copiosis economy.
White Collar Crime
Some of the most well-respected members of the community are criminals. No, we’re not referring to sex crimes between consenting adults or use of recreational drugs. We’re not even referring to fireworks or fishing out of season. We’re referring to crimes that are worth many billions of dollars in the U.S. economy and which cost thousands of innocent lives each year.
These are the so-called “white collar” crimes. These are the crimes of business, finance, and retailing. These are crimes of the middle and upper classes. These are the crimes for which the criminals rarely are accused, rarely brought to trial, and almost never sent to prison. Yet these crimes cost the average citizen thousands of dollars each year.
Occasionally some white collar crime will make it to the headlines. The dollar amounts are usually in the millions in those cases. Sometimes, as in the case of defective tires several years ago, lives are reported as being lost. Sometimes the failure of a bridge, building, or highway makes headlines with or without injury or loss of life. Sometimes, a celebrity is involved or a big name political figure and then the headlines appear because of who is affected. But generally, the crimes go unreported, unnoticed, unremarked, and certainly not investigated.
These crimes are often committed by businesses as a means of selling merchandise or getting people to sign contracts by misrepresentation (lying) or in providing a product that does not meet specifications. The employees of a company may be required, as a condition of keeping their job, to participate in these crimes. In this way, millions of people become accomplices to crimes.
But all the above is how things are now in a traditional economy. How would a Copiosis type of society fare with regard to white collar crime? The answer is that it would do quite well. Almost all these crimes are committed for money. That is, they are committed in order to get money. These actions would not gain anyone money in a Copiosis economy. Many of the industries which participate in white collar crime do not even exist in a Copiosis economy. There are no banks or insurance companies or stock markets or government regulation of business. There are no lawsuits. This eliminates the opportunity for a very large range of white collar crimes.
When we move to the area of retail, a similar situation is found. Those who sell items are not paid by the consumer but by a third party. That third party is an expert (relative to the consumer) in the product. That third party is much more difficult to fool. Also, the pay is made only after the product has been consumed at least to some degree and it continues so long as the product is generating benefits. Therefore, the motivation of the retailer is to provide the best product which is as exactly suited to the customer’s needs as possible in order to maximize their own pay. The owner of the retail establishment does not pay the clerks so the clerks are there to serve the customer, not to keep the owner happy. Of course, by maximizing their own personal pay they also will maximize the owner’s pay so the owner will want them to do what’s best for the customer.
Reputation is also very important in Copiosis business, in part because the customers can easily discover the reputation of those with whom they are dealing. The emerging information society, the society in which all one’s actions are monitored by the computer system regardless of whether the economy is traditional or a Copiosis economy, will make it very difficult to cheat without being found out and without having everyone that one later deals with knowing how one cheated. One simply will not have to blindly trust those one works with or one buys from. This removes most of the temptation to even try to cheat.
The conclusion is that in a Copiosis society since there will be few opportunities to gain money by unethical conduct, there will be few temptations to be unethical, and the enforcement of law and convention will be swift and effective. Therefore, white collar crime will almost completely disappear in Copiosis society.
Crimes of violence in which physical harm is done to the victim are one of the most frightening of events for most people. The range of such crimes spans the depths of human depravity. Many of these crimes are products of mental illness which may be a result of genetic characteristics or of traumatic events. For those crimes, a society can offer only research into the causes and cures with the hope of early detection and restraint of the criminals.
There are also drugs such as alcohol which remove inhibitions and/or make one paranoid. The availability of such drugs to the general public in traditional economies cannot be prevented since if they are illegal then organized crime will provide them. The sale of these drugs makes lots of money for the producers and distributors. Therefore, there are many violent crimes that are the result of temporary mental states induced by drugs (and withdrawals from drugs) in traditional societies.
But other violent crimes stem from other motivations. Some are clearly related to money. In some cases such as armed robbery, the crime is an attempt to steal currency, negotiable bonds, or other valuables. In other cases, as in the case of organized crime battles over control of illegal trade, the violence is directed toward profit for the criminals. Both types of crime would clearly not have a place in the Copiosis society since they would in no way make higher pay more likely for the criminal. In the former case there is no currency to steal and in the latter case there is no organized crime.
There are other circumstances in which one may profit in a traditional economy – the death or injury of someone else. One may collect insurance in the event of someone’s death or injury. One may inherit in the event of someone’s death. Arson sometimes kills. In a Copiosis economy there is no inheriting of other people’s money. In a Copiosis economy there is no insurance. In a Copiosis economy there is no way to make money from arson.
It is difficult to think of a set of circumstances in a Copiosis society in which one could gain money by committing a violent crime. Therefore violence to gain money would be rare.
In addition to the motivations for violent crime one should also examine the opportunities for violence, that is, the availability of weapons. In a traditional economy the person who sells a weapon bears almost no legal responsibility for any use of that weapon. In a Copiosis economy, it is the consequences of one’s actions that determine one’s pay. Therefore those who produce and distribute weapons will be very careful to whom they sell or give those weapons. They would never give or sell a weapon to just anyone who had money. Also, ownership of a weapon becomes, in a Copiosis society a risky thing to do unless one has taken great care to be sure that the weapon cannot be misused by someone else. Having a hand gun, for example, could produce negative consequences that cost one quite a bit of future income; if that gun were stolen and used in a crime of violence or in an accidental shooting. Providing gun locks and storage would be a source of profit. Therefore, weapon security would be greater in a Copiosis society.
But perhaps the greatest reason why crimes of violence would be rare in a Copiosis society is that people expect help from other people. You may have read the article that depicts the simulation of a zero-sum relationship produced by the monetary transactions of traditional economies. Those expectations – that others can benefit from our losses, that others are our competitors and enemies, that helping others gains you nothing unless they pay for that help – are psychologically stressful. They put us on edge and make us anxious, as well as fearful and therefore angry; causing us to be more likely to take offense. While most people have these feelings only occasionally or feel them only slightly, with times of stress and upset being few and offset by the frequency with which they interact with friends and loved ones; for a large number of people these feelings of fear (anger) are more common and powerful. When the circumstances are right (or wrong, depending upon your perspective), the anger boils over and violent acts are the result. When this happens in a crowd, riots and other destructive events occur. Race riots, lynchings, violent political demonstrations, and looting of businesses are other events which can result from these fears. Therefore violence is naturally going to be greatly reduced when the people of a society have diminished levels of stress and fear, with an expectation that everyone will be willing to help.
Next we can consider the enforcement of laws against violent crimes. Almost every society has such laws. But every society currently has organized crime as well. Every society has theft, robbery, fraud and many other property crimes which simply do not exist or happen rarely in a Copiosis economy. The enforcement of laws against these property crimes takes considerable time and resources. Therefore, the resources available to both prevent violence and to enforce laws against violence are much greater in a Copiosis economy. Also, the rewards for preventing violent crime and for stopping the criminals who commit such crimes would be great since such crimes destroy morale and make people afraid. For example, wife beating is almost ignored in many societies. But in a Copiosis economy, such actions would cost the abuser considerable future income, and those who helped the victim would be rewarded. In fact, calling in a report of an attack taking place would be paid for. Defending the victim would be paid for. Screams for help are likely to attract lots of eager, greedy people coming in a hurry to get money for helping. Finally, the attacker in such cases would quickly become known for being dangerous. Spreading the word about such people would earn money. A reputation for violence would make it much more difficult to get work, a place to live, and cooperation from others. The price one would pay for violent acts would be high.
*Net Benefit = Overall Benefit – Negative Consequences
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