Marist Explanation of Crime

Capitalism, Exploitation, Social class

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Examine some of the ways in which Marxists explain crime (12 marks) Marxists believe that society’s very nature causes crime; they see crime as inevitable in capitalism because capitalism is criminogenic. Marxists argue that because a capitalist society is based on the exploitation of the working class, they are willing to use them at any cost as a means to gain profit and this can be seen as very damaging on the working class, which may cause a rise in crime because: poverty may mean that crime is the only way the working class can survive; crime may be the only way they can obtain the consumer goods encouraged by capitalist advertising, resulting in utilitarian crime such as theft and because they receive alienation and lack of control over their lives may lead to frustration and aggression resulting in crimes of violence. However as capitalism is a dog eat dog system, crime is not confined to the working class, the ruthless competition among capitalist encourages a mentality of greed and self interest. This encourages capitalists to commit white collar and corporate crime such as tax invasion and breaches of health and safety laws. David Gordon argues that even though official statistics make it appear crime to be a largely working class phenomenon, crime is a rational response to the capitalist system and is hence found in all social classes. Unlike functionalist who see law as reflecting value consensus, Marxists see law making and law enforcement as only serving the interests of the capitalist class, for example William Chambliss see laws as ways of protecting private property which are the corner stone’s of the capitalist economy. The ruling class also have the power to prevent the introduction or laws that would threaten their interests. For example there are very few laws are...
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