Street criminals commit their acts of violence and theft against a few people to get small rewards. Beyond beating them, keeping them in a holding cell for a few days, sending them to penal reservations/other countries, or in the worst cases, execution, there’s not that much to do. They’re a problem. They get dealt with. Street criminals will always be there, but the damage they do is limited in scale, they have limited agency over their actions, and they’re not much of a threat to the social order.
White collar parasites, on the other hand, have the potential to hurt thousands or even millions of people with embezzlement, corruption, insider speculation, and ponzi schemes. They are many orders of magnitude more destructive than the worst possible street criminals. Worse, because of their wealth and prestige the people who commit these crimes are leaders of society—people naturally look up to them as examples. In the cosmology of the social universe, they are angels in heaven. With their higher intellects they have a greater understanding of the import of their actions that might escape a simple street thug. In a fair caste system, higher castes would be more morally accountable for their actions as it would be understood by all that they possess greater agency.
When a lowly imp rebels against heaven, it gets unceremoniously struck by lightning, that’s it. A fallen angel, however, demands the right ceremonies to cast it down into the burning fires of hell.
The hypocrisy of our present system is that lowly imps get smashed with the full force and contempt of the celestial rulers while the truly great sinners who plunder entire nations get fines they can easily pay, just have to leave the country, or if they really must go to prison, for much shorter sentences than a simple-minded mugger who stabs someone for their wallet. What’s more, we can imagine your typical ponzi scheme guy won’t exactly be in general population but like any “important” prisoner have a relatively nice stay in the Tower of London rather than the dungeon.
This solidarity of elites protecting their own from justice based on status nepotism undermines the legitimacy of the entire system.
When a guy who runs a ponzi scheme can pay a fine, spend a few years in prison and walk free while a small-time drug dealer or thug is punished worse, how can anyone take the system seriously?
This is why white collar defectors have to be punished harshly by the righteous ruler. They must be destroyed in proportion to the destruction they wrought. To begin with, all their worldly assets get immediately confiscated, their mansions, cars, bank accounts, clothes, shoes, pocket change, everything. This is only just because they have betrayed the social order that allowed them to accumulate their property. By stabbing their benefactor in the back, they surrender their rightful claim to ownership. They’d be forced to watch as all the things they spent their lives striving for get taken away from them.
Next, quick and simple execution does not do justice. That easy way out is for the worst perpetrators of street crimes.
Those who effectively mug and murder thousands of people from behind a desk would not be facing the SEC. Perhaps they’d be tracked down by something like an Inquisitorial Board run by zealots of the state religion. Their punishments of pain and humiliation might be administered by darkly robed, armored, and masked high priests of the most forboding aspect atop a great altar wreathed in whisps of sacred incense—in the public square. Finally, they’d perhaps be handed over to an angry mob of their victims to poetically finish them off.
But that couldn’t be all, as terrible as this would be. Individuals can be tempted put themselves at great risk if they know it will benefit family and friends. Inquisitors would investigate all family and associates and likely strip them of most of their wealth so they’re forced to start anew among the working classes. Parents, spouses, children would be publicly disgraced, the possibility of a return to social prominence made impossible for them. The class of white collar elites tends to be incestuous—so a return to collective punishment would be necessary both as a deterrant and a preventive.
The scenario I ponder here may seem to us barbarous in the extreme. But this is because of the disconnect between our monkey instincts and the sheer scale of mass society. One death is a tragedy, a million just a statistic.
We happily agree someone who savagely stabs one person to death deserves to be imprisoned for a very long time or even killed. We likely agree a burglar should be sent to jail and don’t feel that sorry for them if they get shot trying it.
Yet when someone steals millions of dollars from thousands of people, ruins their lives, drives some of them to suicide, we hesitate to put him into an electric chair as the worst sort of perpetrator. Even when we capture death camp commandants all we do is make them sit in comfy chairs in a courtroom for awhile before we give them quick and easy deaths by hanging. I suppose that because we each are only one person, it is difficult for us to imagine the sum of the suffering of a thousand people.
So we have to think to a greater level of abstraction to grasp what punishment someone deserves when they severely harm many people, threaten the entire social order, and by being of higher caste possess greater culpability for their actions.
It is hard to escape the conclusion, if we really think about it, that the ponzi guy is much worse than even the most violent of muggers, murderers, and rapists. To uphold legitimacy and keep the mandate of heaven intact, they must be dealt with as befits the enormity of their deeds.
See also: A Fair Caste System