No civilized person wants a kid capped for stealing a watch. Perhaps not even cattle or horse thievery, for which a distant relative of mine was hanged. reader Seething from the comments in yesterday's Quote of the Day
I want to play with the idea of hanging horse and cattle thieves.
The reason stealing them was such a heinous crime back when we used animals as traction animals was that you were stealing a man's livelihood.
That horse or ox plowed his fields. The cow(s) potentially provided the family with milk, butter and cheese that could be the difference between slow starvation and raising healthy children who could care for you in your old age.
Theft of a man's livestock meant the family had to "go to town". The daughters because whores. The adults became beggars and the sons petty thieves. Life expectancy dropped from the mid-fifties (lets say) to six months.
It was not just the death of some individuals but the death of the family line.
In modern times, the risk to the individual is diluted by spreading it among the community.
Theft may toss a family into poverty by destroying their livelihood but there is a social safety-net to catch them.
The social safety-net is funded by taxes (which are nothing more than theft legitimized by the power by the State). Increased taxes distributes the risk to every individual, every family line. If society is a machine, then every part of that machine is exposed to increased risk of systemic failure because you cannot make risk totally disappear by spreading it around, you can only change its nature.
Individual risk is (mostly) firewalled from the rest of society.
Collectivized risk may reduce the odds of catastrophic failure but the consequences of that failure are a thousand times greater.
A "casualty" in trench warfare can be a single soldier in a fox-hole. A casualty in naval warfare can mean the death of every sailor on the ship. Collectivizing risk is trading soldiers fighting from fox-holes to packing sailors onto ships.
That looks like progress until the ship sinks.
Capping a kid for stealing a watch? Are the merchants in jeopardy of closing their business because of "shrinkage"? Not only does the merchant lose his livelihood but the neighborhood loses access to his merchandise.
Would you cap a looter if they were stealing your food, post-Apocalypse? Does their age matter if the end result is that your family will do without?
Poor countries live closer-to-the-bone and cannot afford ideas we think of "Western" when they are more accurately described as "Affluent society".
I think it is inaccurate to say "life is cheap" in poor countries. More accurate to say, poor countries have no tolerance for the displacement-of-risk caused by crimes that debilitate livelihoods and thereby increase risk of mortality to the victim.
Your mileage will vary.
Theft of livelihood
Theft of livelihood is the true crime in not teach reading, writing, science, history and math.
It is trendy to abandon those subjects because they are "white" but it steals the children's future. They are sponges for learning. It will be much harder for them when they are older and their minds are polluted with ideas like "The correct answer is anything I FEELZ it should be."