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Why Has White Collar and Corporate Crime Remain Difficult to Study?

By fatimarehman Jun 23, 2013 548 Words
White-collar crime is a financially motivated, nonviolent crime committed for illegal monetary gain. Within the field of criminology, white-collar crime initially was defined by sociologist Edwin Sutherland as "a crime committed by a person of respectability and high social status in the course of his occupation". These crimes are often difficult to study as they are highly under reported hence the 'dark figure' for white collar crimes is huge. Gary Mars expanded the concept of white collar crimes. The extensive illegal activities incurred at the job were termed as 'fiddling' according to Mars because the actors themselves may not see their activities as criminals; rather they see them as perks of the job. The importance of white collar crimes and 'fiddling' lies in the way that they are so largely under reported. Carson further suggests that white collar crimes are under reported because they are victimless crimes eg bribery may be a crime where both the participants gain. Secondly, the victim is general public. When individuals or firms evade taxes, it is the society who suffers the reduction in revenue. Moreover, many firms do not want negative publicity hence they have inside tribunal squads that deal with it. However, crimes that companies commit themselves in the pursuit of maintaining or increasing their profit margins are called 'corporate crimes'. These crimes can cover activities as varied as contravening pollution laws, neglecting health and safety legislation or breaking the Food and Drugs Act. The diverse nature of these crimes means that it is not usually revealed in police statistics, issued by the Home Office or Central Office of Information, but separately in information issued by the government bodies. Michael Clark argues that ordinary and white collar crimes differ in that white collar criminals commit crimes in places where they can normally be expected to be found and the police are unwillingly to enter and are hard to prove. Moreover organized crime, such as mafia, may chose to resemble legitimate businesses and legitimate businesses may employ corrupt or illegal organizations hence they are difficult to report. Clinard and Yeager believe that corporate crime exist due to big companies who are forced to commit these crimes in order to stay in the competition with fellow competitors. Passas attempts to use the Merotonian strain theory to explain corporate crime as an innovative response to strain of meeting cultural expectations of maintaining profits and surviving in highly competitive markets. Marxist influenced explanations have sought to show white collar crimes particularly corporate crime not as exceptional but as endemic to capitalism. Where legal means are blocked then companies will resort to illegal means. As Franke Pearce argues for these companies 'business is business'. this is at its clearest in the third world, where unregulated and unscrupulous capitalism thrives. This theory was criticized by writers who argued that the quality of goods and safety records improve as capitalism develops and the goodwill of clients and staff needs to be maintained. Hence we conclude that white collar crimes and corporate crimes are very difficult to detect and report mainly because of the reasons Carson put forward and because of the lack of criticism these theories received, it further proves that these theories are very much relevant when it comes the these type of crimes.

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