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Flashcards in Marxist Theories Deck (8):


He argues that laws are made in the interest of the ruling class, as shown in the 1349 Vagrancy Laws (wherein workers were forced to accept lower rates of pay, otherwise would be classified as criminals), and this still occurs today. The lower classes are naturally going to be criminalised because they have no power to influence the laws. E.g Non-Dom Status.



Capitalism is 'criminogenic'-
it is a profit-based system, driving people to greed and self-interest. Therefore, crime is a rational response to it across all social classes. Lower classes are motivated to commit utilitarian crimes to cope, and non-utilitarian out of anger, whereas The wealthy commit crimes due to greed.



In a capitalist state the working class and ethnic minorities are criminalised whilst the courts tend to ignore crimes of powerful. Corporations have committed the most anti-social acts, WCC cost, by his assessment, 24x the economic cost of street crime and are often committed by the wealthiest groups in society.


Chambliss Evaluation

Can be argued that this theory is still relevant today as current laws reflect the interests of wealthy groups and property owners (2012 Squatting Act and Non Dom Status)


Gordon Evaluation

Theory is useful in that it offers an explanation for all types of crime across all social classes- but it deterministic for suggesting that individuals in a capitalist society have no control over committing crime.
For instance, Sweden and Japan are capitalist societies with low crime rates therefore it is unrealistic that capitalism alone encourages crime.


Snider Evaluation

Raised awareness of issues of White Collar Crime but ignores the emotional impact of street crime.
However, supported Union Carbide causing a pesticide leek in Bhopal, causing 4000 immediate deaths and over 30 years of damage to their agriculture, economy and health. However the CEO’s of this company were unpunished.



Capitalism performs as an ideological state apparatus.
Criminal activity of working classes reinforces class inequality because the media depict working classes as violent criminals. This means that society does not attempt to understand the conditions they face, or question whether they are expeiencing inequality.


Althusser Evaluation

Although, there is legislation specifically in place to protect the working classes, for example many health and safety laws to improve their conditions.
Peacre, however, argues that this is simply an appearance, and although people may believe that this legislation benefits working classes, it does not as it is rarely enforced.