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Why Do People Commit Crimes?


Some Theories that Explain Why People Commit Crimes

Why do people commit crimes? That is a question law officers, psychologist, criminologist and practically every law abiding person have always been trying to answer.

There are a few notable theories that try to tackle this question from different directions, depending on their worldview.

If you ask Marxists, crime originates from unjust distribution of property. The world is divided into those who have and those who have not. Those who are deprived try to amend the situation by taking what should rightfully be theirs.

The solution: redistribution of property- eliminating private possession. Everyone should have the same. Distributive justice will bring peace and tranquility. There will be no more crime since there will be no real reason for it.

Feminist theorists blame unjust gender power relations in society. Form their perspective, half of the population is ruled and oppressed by the other half. Women are inferior to men. This uneven distribution of power leads to unjust society which in its turn results in crime. Well… One thing this theory cannot explain is the fact that the majority of the criminals are males and not “oppressed” females.

Another theory is more fundamental as it relates to the nature of man. The advocates of this line of thought claim that no matter who is in power and regardless of how property is divided, people will always commit crimes. Violence and the tendency to go against the prevailing order of society are inherent in us; they are part of our nature – an innate aggression and an inclination to chaos.

Most of us are able to take these tendencies and sublimate them turning them to something productive, like raising a family, practicing art or going to politics. However, few of us are unable to do that and degenerate into the dark sides of society – the world of crime.

No matter what, we will always have the tendency within us to do harm side by side with the tendency for good deeds – exactly what Freud referred to when he discussed the two opposing side in our personality, the Thanatos and the the Eros.

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