Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Next Question...

The New Debate is up.

At first glance, I'm sure it's easy to say that, "no, stealing is never okay." Yet, when we delve a bit deeper and throw in a few circumstances this opinion may, in fact, change.

It's a bit like the Robin Hood theory of stealing from the rich to feed the poor. Let's say you're a mom of 6, your significant other has just passed away, you were laid off because of the horrible economy and have no way to sustain the lives of your 6 kids. As a last ditch effort, you begin to nab food.

Is this acceptable?

Or, let's say you're someone that happens to know a little too much about torrents and/or downloading music.

Is this acceptable?

Better yet, what if you or someone you know is just an out-right kleptomaniac? Then what?

Here's my take.

In America, there isn't poverty to the extent that thievery becomes a necessity. There are enough social programs available to take care of the poor that you can get food and shelter. It might not be pretty, but it's out there, and it's legal. You know what they say, beggars can't be choosers. There are soup kitchens, homeless shelters, and getting a job is not that hard. Getting a job that you enjoy is what's hard. If you can't put food on the table, but you think that working at McDonald's is beneath you, that's your own choice.

In Brasil, it's a different story. In the favelas, some people depend on thievery for the basics of survival because the programs that are out there are not enough. It's acceptable when you have no choice, because at that point, it becomes a matter of survival, and if you have to take from others to ensure your survival, well, then they need to protect their stuff better. But by the same coin, you are not entitled to their belongings, so if you can't take it, don't expect to be given it. In places like that, it's a state of nature, and survival of the fittest is the rule. Be glad you're not there.

With regards to digital file transfer of music, movies, or games, this is how I look at it. As art in the public domain, if the artists wish to profit from their work, they need to make it available to the public. If there's a book not being printed, a movie or album no longer being pressed, or a game no longer being produced, by all means, download it. However, if the means exist for you to obtain the work in a manner that keeps the artist in the loop, then you are obligated to take that route.

And Kleptos? Just get some medication, just because it's supposedly a disease doesn't mean it's right.


Deutlich said...

Valid points on all counts.

I like it.

TOPolk said...

Regarding music, movies, books
I buy movies. I go to the theater. I'm not a fan of downloading them.

I like to buy books as I like the feel paper between my fingers.

Music. I'll leech music all day. Mainly because I like A LOT of bad music. Most of those artists I don't want to continue making music. However, if its good music, I will happily plunk down $13 for a CD. "Hot Fuss" by The Killers is a prime example of that.

In regards to the first example, if you've got kids to feed and you're doing it for a reason and not just because you can then I'm fine with that. When pushed into a corner, people will do what needs to be done in order to survive.

GMan said...

I couldn't agree more!!