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Flashcards in White Collar Crime Deck (19):

What is White Collar Crime?

It is in contrast to street crime. It is crime committed by the Middle Classes. It includes occupational, corporate and state crimes.



Definition in the 1960s. "Crimes committed by persons of high social status in the course of their occupations"
Focuses on crimes committed through occupation.



Definition in 2002. Adapted Sutherland's definition. Said that some crimes may be the responsibility of the corporation or the organisation, for example fraud and corruption, personal harm, politicians and officials.



Crimes of the Powerful Ignored.
In a capitalist state the working class and ethnic minorities are criminalised whilst the courts tend to ignore crimes of the powerful. WCC cost 24x economic cost of street crime. For example, Bhopal, Union Carbide Pesticide leak.



Capitalism is 'Criminogenic'.
Suggests that crime is a natural response to capitalism. The middle-upper social classes will not commit crime due to poverty or resentment towards society, it will be because capitalism encourages greed and self-interest. Drives the gap between rich and poor. People are always wanting more- creates a cycle. E.g Starbucks tax avoidance.


Hughes and Langan

Corporate Crime Ignored.
There is more WCC than we realise.
Corporate crime is more damaging on society, costs more than blue collar crime but it is largely ignored or treated softly due to: low visibility, compexity, diffusion of victimisation and responsibility. E.g MP expenses scandal 2009. But people found out and were outraged.



MC Don't Know What WCC Is
Many middle classes are now frequently involved in crime, but would not classify themselves as criminals, effect worsened by the growing middle class. 34% of crimes is paid cash to avoid tax and 18% stealing from work.
Not every MC person commits these crimes.


Who believes that the impact of WCC is worse and committed by the wealthy?

Marxists and Social Democrats.


Who believes that Street Crime is worse?

Functionalists and Realists.


Lea and Young

Street Crime is more important
Agree typical criminal is lower class because they experience Relative Deprivation, Marginalisation and Deviant Subcultures. Street Crime is far more important because every WC person lives in fear of it. So the primary focus of tackling crime should be street crimes like murder.



The Underclass.
Ignores WCC all together, believing it does not exist. The real criminals in society are those who grow up with no value for hard work. A reliance on the welfare state leads to a breakdown of the nuclear family, resulting in no male role model and so WC males turn to crime. MC have been properly socialised so do not commit crime.



Strain Theory
Functionalist, everyone is trying to achieve the value consensus of material wealth. Most people conform to conventional ways of achieving it, but no opportunity to do so results in them turning to crime. So WCC is most likely committed by lower social classes.


Snider Evaluation

Useful in showing the impact of White Collar Crime.
However, his theory only looks at the economic impact of White Collar Crime, and fails to consider the emotional impact, for example, of murder.


Gordon Evaluation

Useful in explaining why White Collar Crime occurs. But this theory doesn't explain all forms of White Collar Crime, for example state crimes such as Guantanamo Bay.


Hughes and Langan Evaluation

Useful in explaining why White Collar Crime goes undetected. Backed up as statistics show that only _% of cases of WCC were prosecuted.


Kardest Evaluation

Useful in explaining why the amount of White Collar Crime is growing.
But this only explains minor cases of White Collar Crime- some, such as fraud are obvious. The cases of White Collar Crime explained by this theory are of minor importance.


Lea and Young Evaluation

This theory is a generalisation- not every working class person is a criminal, and plenty of middle class people are, ignores destruction of MC crimes Guantanamo Bay.


Murray Evaluation

He appears to deny that White Collar Crime even exists, making his theory less convincing as many middle class people do commit crime.
His theory of the Underclass is based on little evidence.


Merton Evaluation

Only explains economic crime. Fails to explain state crimes such as Guantanamo Bay.