Post-scarcity does not mean we become happy robots
We occasionally get questions asking about how the darker side of humanity can exist when the external influences that supposedly drive that darker side no longer exist. Forgive me for being honest and blunt, but I consider the idea laughable. It's as if humanity does bad things because some idiot invented money or the color red. Evolution is intrinsically competitive — and that means humanity has millions of years of inbred competitiveness. It is our nature. Take away one reason to compete, and we'll find two more to take it's place. Most humans would find the utopia many authors dream about to be a living hell.
Many years ago while living in Albuquerque, New Mexico, I saw a billboard advertising a local car dealership. I've never forgotten the tag-line: "If all men are created equal, why are there passing lanes?"
The billboard was one of my earliest introductions into the fascinating (and often downright evil) world of marketing. Marketing, in a nutshell, is the process of leveraging human behavior to convince them to meet your expectations. Most of the time we think of marketing in terms of advertising, meaning the really pretty girl on the beer commercial trying to convince guys that drinking beer will bring to pass pretty girls. This is because one of the simplest and most easily manipulated human behaviors is sexual desire. AKA, "sex sells." And that brings us to post-scarcity-crime #1:
1. Post-scarcity will have zero impact on sexually-motivated crime
So, if there's one aspect of human behavior that can get the criminal blood pumping despite having a nice place to stay and sufficient food to eat, what else is there? I, for one, absolutely hate being wrong. As an adult I intellectually understand that I am often wrong. I make mistakes all the time. But that happy little 7-year-old that never completely shuts up is absofreakinglootly sure I'm never wrong — and so I do everything from argue toe-to-toe with people to writing opinion pieces for my local paper to posting contrary answers on Worldbuilding.SE. Because, well, you know, I'm never wrong!
Unfortunately, people will do all kinds of things to not be wrong. Whether it's avoidance of embarrassment or that sociopathic need to be in control, we'll gossip about friends, throw people under the proverbial bus, speed 5 mph over the posted limit, evade taxes, stuff ballot boxes, lie/cheat/steal and "stick it to the man," all to avoid being wrong.
2. Post-scarcity will have no impact on crimes involving self-image, libel, slander, etc.
Perhaps as a sub-plot to #2 is simple jealousy (envy, covetousness, keeping-up-with-the-Jones'...) They have new green carpet, I should too! One of the fundamental lies upon which fictional utopias are inevitably based is the idea that humanity stops caring about what someone else has. There's enough food to go around! Everybody has a nice park for their kids! Nobody has worn carpet! We all drive the same car!
Wait... the same car?
And therein lies the lie. Two couples bear a child each on the same day, and 13 years later it becomes obvious that the daughter of couple A is substantially more beautiful than the couple of child B. Jealousy. Envy. Covetousness. Celebrity. Dead teen cheerleaders. Trophy wives. An entire sweeping difference between the opportunities available to the naturally beautiful that are denied those who are naturally not. And if we do this simply based on physical beauty, we'll do it for cars and typewriters and window treatments and anything else that allows us to stand out as individuals.
It doesn't matter if post-scarcity means we all have enough food. There will always be someone who thinks they
deserve need more food than their neighbor.
And believe me, if a policeman is allowed to have a gun, there will always be somebody who will think they should have one, too.
3. Post-scarcity will lessen crimes of jealousy, but not much
And then there's the issue of power. This is probably a corollary to #2 and #3, but people like taking advantage of other people. It's part of that evolutionary heritage. The most powerful animal gets the best mates, the most food, the largest territory... and it's whomping hard to believe humanity will every "outgrow" that behavior. And when it comes to issues of having the longest... I mean greatest amount of power, nothing says "I'm in charge!" like white collar crime.
Now, "white collar crime" is usually defined as financially motivated and non-violent. In reality there's a bigger social behavior at play. Person/corporation A wants an advantage over person/corporation B, so they lobby Congress to pass a law favoring A, meaning that B can now commit a "crime" that won't let it compete with A. As far as I'm concerned, both the influence to pass a biased law and the breaking of that law are both crimes. In fact, a post-scarcity society would likely create an increase in this kind of crime as people discover that everyone has plenty to be taken.
Remember, it's a lie to believe that post-scarcity means no one will have a reason to want more. Some people will always want more. And if food is so cheap that it's meaningless to take it, they'll take something else. My time, for example, happens to be in very limited supply — and always will be.
4. White collar crime (crimes with the goal of increasing personal power or influence) will likely increase in a post-scarcity world.
I could go on, but the fact is that where there's people, there are differences between them. Where there are differences, there are people who will desire, demean, or exploit those differences. Where there's desire, demeaning, and exploitation, there's crime. That's because "crime" is what happens when the rights of the individual come in conflict with the needs of society. It's what you get when "we need you to calm down" comes in conflict with "I don't want to calm down."
And if you don't believe me, the only thing you need to start a fight is a frequent-traveler policy that lets them skip to the front of a long line at the airport on a hot day — or coming home and discovering your significant other in bed with someone you thought was insignificant.
5. Post-scarcity will not reduce the number of crimes of passion.
OK, no more going on. OK, one more. I'll leave you with one of the most base and basic human behaviors of all — one that causes a tremendous amount of crime.
6. Post-scarcity will never overcome the human desire for revenge.
My underlying point is that a world without crime must be a world without conflict, without competition, and therefore without ambition or innovation. Those strong emotions and behaviors that lead to crime are sourced from smaller, controlled versions of the very same emotions and behavior that drive all aspects of advancement. The utopia of a crime-free society is actually dystopic in every way — it can only exist as a broken society.
Oh, and the per-capita number you're looking for is entirely POB, so I didn't bother.