Karmic balance: the new legal system concept to allow good deeds to balance evildoing in the correct ratio. The criminal justice reform that we need.


In most aspects of life, positive and negative elements balance out: if a person has an income of $1000, and expenses of $750, then they have a net income of ($100 – $750 = $250).

The Issue:

The only area where this does not seem to apply is in the commission of good / evil deeds.  Typically, a person is judged by their most recent style of deed-performing: e.g. “many past good deeds → one recent evil deed” is more harshly judged than “many past evil deeds → one recent good deed.”


Perhaps we can use a sort of “karmic balancing” system to encourage people to do good deeds to “bank up” goodwill for potential future evil deeds.

Although counterintuitive, this might have a positive effect on society, as people try to “save up” by performing good works for the community.

In order to ensure that the good / evil deeds were properly accounted for, we would need to assign each of them a numeric value (Figures 1 and 2).

Fig. 1: Rescuing a cat might reward the user with +46 “good deed” karma. This is a system that is frequently seen in video games, and is also a component of the TV series “The Good Place.”

Fig. 2: Performing a heist might result in –273 points. This could be balanced out by rescuing 5.93 cats (at +46 karma per cat).

Although this “karmic balance justice system” may sound outlandish at first, the civil legal system basically already operates in this fashion: if a person has $100,000, and someone sues them and wins $25,000, then the legal system is satisfied as soon as the fine is paid

A person is essentially “immune” to civil cases, fees, and various governmental fines as long as they have the ability to pay out. (For example, a very rich person can, in most jurisdictions, afford an unlimited number of parking tickets, essentially putting them above the law.)

The criminal justice system would probably also benefit from working in this fashion, since many trials could be skipped entirely. For example, if a person had a karma of +3825 and they committed a –714 karma vandalism, then the accused individual might just pay the karmic fine rather than going to trial. (So this is essentially an improved version of the plea bargain.)


This is a good idea for legal system reform. Consult a constitutional scholar today to see what the best steps forward are for this plan! Don’t commit any crimes in the meantime, though, as there’s no guarantee that this system will be adopted in the immediate future.

PROS: Brings the criminal justice system in line with the civil justice system. Encourages individuals to do good deeds (even if for perhaps selfish motives).

CONS: Someone who had accidentally accumulated a huge amount of good deed points (e.g. by single-handedly saving everyone on a sinking ship) might decide to cash out their karmic points by going on a crime spree. This system has no defense against these corner cases, unfortunately.