“You simply cannot hang a millionaire
-William Bourke Cockran
“The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich
as well as the poor to sleep under bridges, to beg
in the streets, and to steal bread.”
Contrary to the myth that Western capitalist society obeys the rule of law, it has long been understood that the wealthy live under a different set of laws than the rest of us. The crimes against property and against the wealthy are not weighted on the same scale as crimes against the weak and the destitute.
The average OSHA penalty for a wilful violation of the workplace safety laws causing death is $27,000 (USD).
On the other hand… The average penalty for uttering profanity (which would naturally cut into advertising revenue) on radio or television in the United States is $500,000.‡
On the other hand… Child abduction will cost you only $25,000. Committing burglary against your non-wealthy neighbour is worth only a $375,000. Arson is worth roughly the same as burglary. Stalking is worth a pittance of just $175,000. (source)
Vandalizing a something that isn’t even a primary dwelling or domus nets you $260,000 in France.
On the other hand… in British Columbia, Canada, the police (RCMP) can actually vandalize the primary residence of homeless people with impunity. (source)
A while back, TVO had a great speech by Darryl Davies which dealt precisely with the crippling inequality in the way we approach what is “criminal” and what is not. For your viewing pleasure, I have included this lecture below.
We must start thinking of our modern capitalist society as not that far removed from feudalism in terms of the legal basis reinforcing the privilege of the wealthy. I think this lecture goes a long way toward accomplishing precisely this.
‡ Nader, Raph. The Good Fight. Regan Books: New York, 2004. 154