I’m somewhat regrettably rewatching the Phantom Menace and it occurs to me that Qui Gon has no compunction over Force-ing Watto into selling a T14 hyperdrive generator for (worthless) Republic credits. Nor does he fret over fixing games of chance.

So what’s stopping Qui Gon from just stealing the T14? He could even leave some credits behind. Seems like a morally equivalent action, especially given that he’s on a mission to save the galaxy.

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  • Are you really trying to apply logic to the plot of TPM? There's elements that make much, much less sense than this point. – Daniel Roseman Nov 4 '17 at 8:54
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    At this point he isn't saving the galaxy, just mediating in a small trade dispute. Pissing the Hutts off at the Republic (by robbing a junk-dealer in their back garden) might actually be a bigger deal than saving Padmé... – Valorum Nov 4 '17 at 9:52

The Force didn't tell him to.

Note that the Jedi are, by training, enforcers of the law rather than breakers of it. Although Qui-Gon doesn't worry too much about using his mind-tricks to get Watto to take currency that he'll have to change later (causing him a minor inconvenience) or influencing Watto's rigged chance-cube, he balks at outright beating the guy up and taking his stuff or breaking in and stealing it from him.

His initial thought is that a "Royal" yacht will contain enough supplies on it that they can just sell. When that fails he meditates a little, then bumps into the boy that they met in the shop earlier and a path forward presents itself to him.

There was a pause at the other end. “A few containers of supplies, the Queen’s wardrobe, some jewelry maybe. Not enough for you to barter with. Not in the amounts you’re talking about.”
“All right,” Qui-Gon responded with a frown. “Another solution will present itself. I’ll check back.”

The Phantom Menace - Official Novelisation


  This answer is a bit out-of-universe, but bear with me. Qui Gon Jinn operates under so called "good smuggler morality". Typical representative of this morality would be Han Solo, but many more protagonists often display such behavior including Jinn's student Kenobi, Luke Skywalker, Ezra Bridger, princess Leia and even Yoda.

  It is recurring theme in SW universe that Force is grey, i.e. there is good and bad in everyone (or almost everyone) . As Force is grey, so is the world it creates. Main characters must remove themselves from "dogmatic, narrow view" of good and bad. During their adventures they often encounter various creatures like Watto, which at first look are really disgusting (greedy slaveowner), but at second look are not all that bad. And, with some persuasion, even such imperfect creatures could be used for good without destroying them or robbing them.

  Therefore, good smuggler morality (and Force) allows our hero to bend rules somewhat when dealing with creatures like Watto. After all, it is expected that Watto would on his part try to bend rules in his favor. But outright thievery or murder is not allowed, because this would actually have opposite effect of increasing evil in the world (strengthening Dark Side) . In fact "good smuggler morality" implies reciprocity : be good towards good, you could be gray towards gray like Watto, and you are allowed to kill evil (Empire, Separatists etc ...)

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