Theft under 5000$

Some interesting reading from the Freakonomics Blog regarding honesty, ethics etc. I have not read the book but it’s selling like hot cakes these days (Malcolm Gladwell writes the foreward I think, so that part will be good anyway). On their blog the authors tell about an artist who is offering her music to fans from her website for a donation. She also posts stats about how generous her fans are being. She isn’t losing a lot of money it seems. Likely less than Switchfoot. She might have stolen this idea from Billy Graham or Focus on the family, they always used to send me catalogues with prices that were just “suggested donation”. The Freakonomics guys have a related post that goes into the ideas of white collar crime and “small” theft of things from work, etc. It got me thinking.

To put it bluntly, some stuff, (just little stuff of course) I’m okay with stealing. Most of the time I still feel guilty, but in the cases where I consider it “small” I get over it. Some times I do it without thinking. My experience tells me everyone is like that. Personal Ethics (I’m talking real life application here) is not black/white – I guess because it is so personal? Grey… very gray.

There’s a great pen here at work I’ve been tempted to steal for weeks, but haven’t given in yet. I have worked with lots of people who feel it’s okay to make long distance phone calls from work. Paper, fax and printer services at work are considered free by most. Some people would claim emailing from work as “theft”. Others might even include blogging from work on the list!!!! I know lots of churches that have stolen software, mostly just because it would cost a lot of money to get the real stuff. I’m always tempted to steal candy from the bulk section at the grocery store. Speeding anyone? Almost everyone I know has stolen music of some form. Back when I first discovered KAZAA I had a whole whack of “borrowed” mp3’s on my computer, but I got mad at Kazaa for infesting my computer with virus type things so I deleted most of them.

It’s just interesting thinking about where ethics collide with real life… which things am I going to teach my son are big? Will he agree with what I teach? No answers here, just questions. Anyone else want to confess to the world wide web?


2 Responses to Theft under 5000$

  1. .jeremy. says:

    i remember when my mom got a phone call that said her son was being charged with theft under 5000$. when the policeman said that, i thought it made it sound way worse than it was…mom was not impressed.

  2. And you were stealing what???

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