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White Collar Crime Political Crime. Social Context Defining WCC Types of WCC/Examples Applying Theory to WCC. Social Context. Concern with “corporate” criminals emerged in the U.S. in the early 1900s “Robber Barons” (Morgan, Carnegie, Rockefeller) Muckrakers

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white collar crime political crime

White Collar CrimePolitical Crime

Social Context

Defining WCC

Types of WCC/Examples

Applying Theory to WCC

social context
Social Context
  • Concern with “corporate” criminals emerged in the U.S. in the early 1900s
    • “Robber Barons” (Morgan, Carnegie, Rockefeller)
    • Muckrakers
      • Upton Sinlcair (1906) The Jungle
  • Sutherland’s work on “White Collar Crime”
    • He coined this term
    • Study of 70 Largest U.S. corporations
defining white collar crime
Defining White Collar Crime
  • Sutherland (coined the term)
    • Respectable/High Social Status
    • In the course of occupation
  • Later
    • Occupational Crime
    • Organizational/Corporate Crime
occupational crime
Occupational Crime
  • Employee Theft
    • Pilferage and Embezzling
    • “Collective Embezzlement”
  • Fraud in the Professions
    • Medical Industry
  • Financial Fraud
    • Insider trading
organizational corporate crime
Organizational/Corporate Crime
  • Financial Crimes
    • Fraud, cheating, corruption…
    • Price fixing, price gouging, trade restraint
    • False Advertising
      • Bait and Switch
  • Violent Crimes
    • Unsafe work conditions
    • Unsafe products
    • Environmental Pollution
comparing the harm
Comparing the Harm
  • Property loss
    • “Street Crimes” (FBI data) = $15 billion
    • W.C.C. (from several sources) = $400 billion
  • Death
    • Street crimes = 17,000 homicides
    • W.C.C.
      • 30,000 deaths from unsafe products
      • 20,000 deaths from environmental pollution
      • 12,000 deaths from unneeded surgery
explaining white collar crime theories that don t work
Explaining White Collar Crime:Theories that Don’t Work
  • Merton’s “modes of adaptation”
  • Poverty, inequality, etc.
  • Low Self-Control ??
    • Gottfredson and Hirschi point to “pilfering” and “embezzlement” as typical white collar offenses
  • Control theory that emphasizes “stake in conformity”
explaining white collar crime ii what works
Explaining White Collar Crime IIWhat Works?
  • Sutherland (corporate culture, neutralizations)
    • DA as a “general” theory
  • Merton’s “Anomie,” Messner & Rosenfeld, Durkheim
    • “Industrial Prosperity”
  • Radical Theories
    • Social harms will not be defined as “crime” if they benefit the wealthy.
    • Crimes of those in power will be ignored/minimized
w c c and deterrence theory what might work if we tried
W.C.C. and Deterrence Theory: What Might Work…if we tried.
  • Deterrence: Swift, Certain, Severe punishment will reduce crime
    • But, must assume “rational calculator”
      • Problems for some street crime
      • More applicable W.C.C.?
  • The Irony
    • Many white collar criminals are fined an amount less than the “take” from the crime
    • Calls by policymakers for “self-regulation”
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