Examine some of the ways Marxists explain crime (12 marks)
There are two main ways Marxist approaches to crime; traditional Marxism and Neo-Marxism. Traditional Marxists see capitalist society as divided into two classes; the bourgeoisie and the proletariat. Like the functionalist’s view Marxism is a structural theory, whose function is the serve the ruling classes interests. Neo-Marxist’s share the view that capitalism is based on exploitation and inequality and the state enforces laws in the interests of capitalism, which is one of the reasons crime exists. Although, Neo-Marxists apply this with the labelling theory and they consider their view as anti-deterministic. Traditional Marxists explain crime as inevitable in capitalism, because capitalism is criminogenic and its very nature causes crime. They argue that crime is mostly found in working-classes because of capitalism and how it exploits people; for many people living in poverty crime is the only way for them to survive, crime for some could be the only way for them to acquire consumer goods, which capitalism advertises as essentials and alienation is often a result of capitalism, which often leads to frustration and aggression, consequently causing non-utilitarian crimes, such as violence. However traditional Marxists ignore the fact that not all capitalist societies have a high crime rate, for example Japan has much less crime than America. They argue ruling class crime is also a result of capitalism, as it creates competition and the profit motivates greed; encouraging people to commit corporate crimes, such as tax evasion and breaking health and safety laws. Gordon (1976) claims crime is a rational response to capitalism and thus is found in all classes. In contrast with the traditional Marxists opinion, Slapper (1999) argue that corporative crime is under-policed and rarely prosecuted or punished severely, this encourages companies to use crime to make profit and often increase the amount of...
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