Hippie Carpenter

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In the 1970s, when I was in my 20s, I was seriously committed to campaigns to make world trade more fair for people at the bottom. My friends and I started one of the first fair trade campaigns. I learned a lot about how corporations make money while screwing small producers and consumers. Living on very little, I decided it was quite fair for me to steal from big corporations: the stealing was helping me earn my living as a hippie carpenter. I stole some hand tools from a big chain builder’s merchant. I also stole some books from a college bookstore. Some years later I felt remorse about the books: the bookstore was a local institution, even if owned by a conglomerate, so I went and paid some money back to the store, and fessed up. But I didn’t ever pay back for the tools. I did decide I wouldn’t steal again, even though my view of corporations had not changed. I didn’t want to risk arrest and prison, but I also decided that trust was an important glue for society and “liberating” stuff for my personal welfare, however dedicated I might be to good causes, didn’t justify destroying the fragile culture of honesty and trust between citizens, even if some of them were employed by evil giants. Nowadays I work with people in prison, helping them work out how to heal from whatever traumas and harms contributed to them committing their crimes.