Stealing is a popular occurrence in many cultures around the world today. The widening disparities in the distribution of income are common. Individuals who may not have material belongings are trying to obtain them, particularly though it means violating the rules of behavior. Trainer Kevin in the newspaper “When Is A Theft Not A Theft? Relic Theft And The Cult Of The Buddha’s Relics In Sri Lanka” points out that many religions across the globe are trying to eradicate problems created by economic inequality and take firm stand against theft. It is also true to say that much of the world’s societies despise cheating and preventing participants from committing vice.This paper will prove the stated thesis through a discussion of positions taken by scholarly journals in the debate on the subject.
Research shows that the more society condones stealing, the more social evils, and economic imbalances rise. According to (Markides and Oyon 141), people need to realize that there are enough resources in the world for everyone – only if they accept to share rather than steal from one another. The buck stops with the humans realizing that they need to share possessions with their neighbors and abstain from the temptations of greed. The world would be better if individuals in the society would not use unorthodox means to acquire property and disadvantaging others, (Markides and Oyon 143). Stealing becomes the primary cause of sprouting evils in the community. Not forgetting poverty, unemployment, and inadequate health care among other problems that stem from increased acts of stealing resources meant for a community. Markides and Oyon argue towards a position that admits that stealing is one of the major causes of social crimes and economic imbalances. Another scholar, Trainor, observes that it has become acceptable for stealing to be hailed; the blame for burglary decreases as the magnitude of the act rises (Trainor 24). For example, a bank robber is perceived as less much of a hero as compared to an ouster of a democratically installed government. Therefore, through inaction, the society has accepted to harbor the vice within its structures to levels that people treat stealing as a normal behavior. Laws that are in place to combat issues related to theft are in themselves biased. The rules are framed in such a manner that they shield the elite of the society against prosecution while exposing the ordinary folk, (Coupe and Claire 747). The result of such a biased legal framework is civil disobedience since the ordinary people lose their trust in the judicial systems. Stealing is a behavior that is learned by perpetrators, no one is born a thief. The laxity by a majority of the members of society to quickly confront and correct unwanted behavior is what causes the vice to flourish thus resulting in social evils and economic imbalances.
Other researchers, however, present a counter-argument that seems to justify stealing. Barnett Jonathan, in a law journal titled “What’s So Bad about Stealing?” Outlines the perspective of which stealing could be termed as criminal under the law. He argues the term ‘harm’ plays a vital role in how cases are handled. The effect that the action of stealing has on the victim, as well as the perpetrator, is of primal concern. There has to be a significant harm resulting from the act of stealing for the action to be termed as criminal under the law. The law primarily seeks to bar authorities from controlling individual behavior regarding what the society terms as vices. Therefore, a new perspective to the discussion of stealing as a social vice is introduced. Barnet postulates that the view holds that there is nothing wrong with stealing provided that the action does not cause any direct harm to the involved parties. In an increasingly free world, individual choices of lifestyles and activities require noninterference from other quotas. Therefore, individuals are free to do what pleases them provided their actions do not harm them and their neighbors. According to the Barnett, there is nothing wrong with stealing provided it causes no damage to both the perpetrator and the victim. Under such circumstances, it becomes acceptable for members of society to steal and satisfy their whims while remaining careful not to be conspicuous in their action. Ada I. Engebrigtsen, in an article titled; “Your Heart Is Not Warm Unless You Steal!’: Constructions Of Theft And Stealing”, argues that in a capitalistic environment, a large number of wealthy individuals are thieves whether known or not. Persons, who aspire to ascend through the ranks of the wealthy, need to learn and master the craft of stealing. In this sense, the action need not be violent but crafty and less detectable. Engebrigtsen further demonstrates that provided the people whose resources are being taken remain uninformed, the practice is justified and an acceptable means of acquiring wealth. Both Barnett and Engebrigsten take views that justify stealing as a means of obtaining wealth.
From the counter argument above, it is clear that the question of morality has been thrown to the wind. It does not matter whether it is morally acceptable to acquire wealth through wayward means, but what matters most is the acquisition of that wealth. Disregard of the tenets of morality set the pace for a moral disintegration that in turn makes the lives of persons in society difficult (Markides and Oyon 151). Raised level of frustrations, in turn, forces people to take actions that further worsen the situation. A lawless society is bound to plunge deep into social conflicts and social insecurity (Trainor 6). For as much as the law should shield the people from unnecessary control from the authorities, caution should be taken to ensure that such shielding does not provide an avenue for disregarding tenets of morality. An act of criminality should be penalized accordingly without caring who commits the act.
In conclusion, stealing can never be justified. Many cultures across the world share the feeling that stealing should not be condoned in the society. The resultant evils that are associated with stealing surpass the gains that individuals who commit the act enjoy. In any case, every act of cheating should be seen as a contributor that further aggravates the already skewed distribution of resources. Therefore, humans should learn to be honest in acquiring wealth and understand that the world becomes a better place when everyone feels contempt for their possession. More importantly, people should accept that there are some things they cannot acquire in this lifetime.
Barnett, Jonathan M. “What’s So Bad About Stealing?” Journal Of Tort Law, vol 4, no. 1, 2011, Walter De Gruyter Gmbh, doi:10.2202/1932-9148.1106.
Coupe, Tom, and Claire Monteiro. “The Charity Of The Extremely Wealthy.” Economic Inquiry, vol 54, no. 2, 2015, pp. 751-761. Wiley-Blackwell, doi:10.1111/ecin.12311.
Engebrigtsen, Ada I. “‘Your Heart Is Not Warm Unless You Steal!’: Constructions Of Theft And Stealing.” Anthropological Journal Of European Cultures, vol 17, no. 1, 2008, Berghahn Books, doi:10.3167/ajec.2008.01701007.
Markides, Constantinos C., and Oyon, Daniel. “Stealing from Thy Neighbor: Leveraged Recapitalizations And Wealth Redistribution.” British Journal Of Management vol. 5, no. 2, 1994, pp. 139-152. Wiley-Blackwell, doi:10.1111/j.1467-8551. 1994.tb00074. x.
Trainor, Kevin M. “When Is A Theft Not A Theft? Relic Theft And The Cult Of The Buddha’s Relics In Sri Lanka.” Numen, vol 39, no. 1, 1992, pp. 1-26. Brill Academic Publishers, doi:10.1163/156852792×00140.