Newest Review: ... For example tripping over a curb, where years ago you would have got up and blamed yourself for not looking where you were going. Yet re... more
Member Name: davidwicks99
Date: 29/01/01, updated on 29/01/01 (21 review reads)
Advantages: none really
Disadvantages: does not instruct and reform the offender
I will agree that in several respects things have gone a little too far in our civilization. For example, a few years ago a woman spilt a cup of hot coffee on her lap and sued the restaurant for not telling her the coffee was hot. She ended up winning millions. How did we get to this point where the answer to all of our problems are lawsuits and compensation? Capitalism.
You see, in a capitalistic society "money" is the answer to everything. You see a poor person on the stree? Give him some money and he will be okay. A school has low test scores and the children are doing drugs? Buy them expensive computers with high speed internet connections. Obviously, money is not the answer to these problems, but it is how we believe we can solve problems. Money is how we value ourselves and our success on this earth in a capitalistic society. Thus, money becomes our way of resolving disputes and also of dishing out punishment.
If a company has manufactured a product that harms people who use it, then the best way of getting back at that company and making it understand that what it did was wrong is to take some of its money away from it. The larger the entity, the larger the compensation due the individuals harmed in order to inflict the appropriate punishment on the company.
Unfortunately, by focusing on compensation for wrongdoings as the only way to resolve lawsuits and other disputes, our focus as a society has become skewed. We forget that there are other ways to try and correct the behavior of individuals or corporations. For example, we could have them perform community service and have them invest themselves rather than just their money in the punishment. I think that that would be much more effective. For an individual or a company might not commit the same crime or offense again if he/it has had to pay out a large sum of money, but will he/it have learned from the experience? I doubt it. Only if the offender has
to come face-to-face with the offense and has to invest himself in the compensation for the offense can the offender become reformed. You learn by doing, not by "paying off." However, it will be very difficult for a society that raises individuals to believe that the almighty pound or euro or dollar is the end-all and be-all to change its ways and realize that you must rehabilitate and instruct offenders, not just extract money from them.