Social Remedies to Unethical Behavior

When people do things that society disapproves of or finds unethical, the standard solution is a system of laws backed up by force. However, there can be unethical behavior that a legal system does not or cannot enforce well. In these situations, a community might remedy ill behavior on an interpersonal basis. Such mechanisms might include social ostracism, person-to-person warnings, and edicts from community elders. What tools should a community use in such situations? What are unethical behaviors that need social remedies in our present society?

Social remedies are relatively common in our present society in situations of sexual misconduct, relationship misconduct, professional misconduct and anything governed by a code of conduct. Many of these cases are ones where the legal system has lacked focus and funding. However, they are also situations where it would be hard to apply legal remedies, due to a lack of hard evidence and clarity. Are social remedies appropriate only where the legal system is lacking, or are there situations that are best handled by social remedies no matter what?

Some social remedies are informal, with people stepping up to handle the situation on a one-off basis. In other cases, a formal remedy system will be in place, with people predesignated to investigate and adjudicate claims. Which sorts of systems are more appropriate for which sorts of behaviors? What harms are caused by having the wrong sort of system?

Some misconduct is one-off, and the perpetrator regrets the behavior and stops on their own. Other misconduct, happens again and again until the perpetrator is forced to stop. Are the remedies needed different in the two cases? Are social remedies equipped to handle a pattern of misconduct?

Legal remedies are intended to dissuade potential misconduct, directly prevent misconduct via incarceration, and lead to rehabilitation. How do the benefits of social remedies match up? Are there dissuasion, prevention and rehabilitation effects? When designing such a system how should we promote these outcomes?