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Thread: Immediate cause vs. direct and indirect cause.

  1. #1
    The Green Jolly Robin H. Array GarrotTheThief's Avatar
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    Oct 2014

    Default Immediate cause vs. direct and indirect cause.

    When it comes to crime and punishment there is a gap between white collar crime and blue collar crime.

    We have for example a killer who is the product of his environment who is sentenced to death but we know the killer was the product of crime which is a direct cause of white collar crime. In fact white collar crime is a catalyst for murder and other crimes that have a high frequency among the destitute and disenfranchised.

    So why then, for example do we let people comit white collar crimes with a slap in the wrist when we know that one guy doing one white collar crime will inevitably lead to 15-100 murders and why do we so violently believe that punishing someone using a corporal system of punishment which is a direct evolution from slavery and actually increases even more violent crime as a statistical fact will work?

    Well....society is not as functional as biology. As a society we refuse to take responsibility. We point the finger at the man who deals the blow but we never take responsibility for our direct contribution.

    The reason is because we are subjective, biased, religious in our belief that immediate equals direct which is false.

    A direct cause is one that is directly responsible for someone's death. A white collar crime is a direct cause for a blue collar crime but it is not an immediate cause.

    This is why even the non-religious are religious and biased. It is impossible not to have a religion. If one is not religious in a spiritual sense, one suffers, at the very least, a sense of religious fervor in the socio political domain - worships beer, sports, and clothing or something or the other.

    Sorry for the crap-state of my writing above...I am juggling four or five things at the moment.
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  2. #2
    Senior Member Array Lark's Avatar
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    Jun 2009


    I think its hopeful to suggest that dealing with white collar crime will nullify the blue collar crime, there is a not of blue collar crime which concerns the public because they are more likely to encounter it and the suffering involved is a lot different to that involved in white collar crime.

    In my experience the worst sort of crime is a result of sadistic personality traits and cultural norms which embrace or validate remorseless violence, flat affect, hard heartedness and that kind of thing. That doesnt change with any improvement in status or money riches. A lot of the drug dealers or gang leaders are among the richest people in any city, they cant declare it and are restricted to a certain sort of conspicious consumption and cant engage in other sorts, so you can possess all the bling you can carry but cant buy a nice house in the country, a boat etc. etc. but I would say that seriously, its not really want of hard cash which is driving these individuals, they have that.

  3. #3


    I hope, since this is in a philosophy section, it is okay to also contrast the most basic assumptions we make about causation, before we go headlong into more complicated matter of crime in particular.

    The way I think of causation is the following: A complex of objects will tend towards a particular evolution in time based on what objects are in the complex, and how they are related. Change the objects or how they are related, and the time evolution could change. Some people call this the 'propensity' theory of causation.

    With that said, it can be immensely difficult without explicit reconfiguration to predict how things might evolve in a particular circumstance. Often, the best we can do is try things out, see what happens, and make adjustments.

    With regards to crime, I think there are a lot of factors in play.

    I, like @Lark, am skeptical of eliminating white collar crime leading to eliminating blue collar crime.

    Nevertheless, I believe that very hard lives can lead to a higher propensity for crime (though still a minority). I think inequality is also something that can lead some to justify violent crimes against those they believe got more than the deserved.

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  4. #4
    Senior Member Array Lark's Avatar
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    Jun 2009


    Quote Originally Posted by ygolo View Post
    Nevertheless, I believe that very hard lives can lead to a higher propensity for crime (though still a minority). I think inequality is also something that can lead some to justify violent crimes against those they believe got more than the deserved.
    That can be a simple rationalisation of behaviour for people committing crime, it reinforces the "poor me" or "I had no choice", which society at large and the micro-communities or subcultures people live their lives as part of rush to validate.

    On the other hand I think the people using this sort of explanatory style the most are actually the victims of crime, or those who think they could be the victim, if its purely material contest or class struggle they are not likely to be targetted again, you feel safe, its nothing personal, just some random thing, much like earthquakes, fires or an "act of God", equally it ascribes some meaning to what has happened and it is explicable, something could be done, usually by someone else, to make it less likely to reoccur.

    Those sorts of thinking are dangerous in their own ways I think, they link with other sorts of thinking of a different nature and do not make crime less likely, I would suggest because they diverge from simple but clear messages about right and wrong which may be made to carry an affective charge compelling some sort of pang of conscience at the very least.

    In my experience most of the crime which is actually solved is a consequence of its being random or chaotic crime, poorly executed, without a view of consequences, next to that is actual criminals owning up themselves or informing on other criminals (although I accept this can and usually is self-interest driven rather than conscientiousness).

    Also there are issues around blue and white collar crime in definition, in the UK Harold Shipman, a family GP who was apparently a good listener, popular with everyone attending his surgery and never assessed as mad before or after his detection and detention, yet he systematically murdered the elderly, vulnerable and sick in his caseload with overdoses of medication. Was that blue collar or white collar? He was middle class, it wasnt a street fight but it was murder.

    There's others like it, a dentist in NI used anaethesia to sedate and molest his clients for years, he also robbed some of them and later conspired with someone he was having an affair with to kill his and her partners, which was case closed at the time in question by the police as a suicide pact between two lovers. He was middle class and would never have been apprehended if he hadnt come forward and admitted it having become by all accounts a born again christian and suffering pangs of conscience.

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