Examine some of the ways in which Marxists explain crime.
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Examine some of the ways in which Marxists explain crime Marxist theories of crime, including the more recent neo-Marxist theories, are conflict approaches. They see society based on conflict between social classes, and social inequality caused by capitalism as the driving force behind crime. Traditional Marxists say that capitalism causes crimes, the term we use for this is criminogenic capitalism; capitalism, by its very nature causes crime. Crime and deviance are systematically created by the structure of capitalist society, the ruling class exploit the working class as they own the means of production. It breeds competition and commodity fetishism, whereby people gain a desire for material things. The people in question become obsessed with personal gain and coming out on top, breaking the law is a small price to pay for the reward of success. David Gordon argues that crime is a response to the capitalist system and is found in every single part of the class structure, even if the official statistics mark it out to be a working class problem. Marxists see law making and law enforcement as serving the interest of capitalism, Chambliss argues that law to protect private property
Furthermore these laws e.g health and safety are not rigorously enforced. Neo Marxists however, focuses on the process by which the state defines certain activities as criminal and by this criminalizing certain groups. They look at the process of criminalisation in relation to the state as it seeks to manage the capitalist system. Taylor et al argued that traditional Marxism is deterministic; it sees workers as driven to commit crime out of economic necessity. Traditionalists reject that external factors such as anomie, subcultures, labelling or biological and psychology factors can cause crime. Taylor et al takes a more voluntaristic view (we have free will). They outline a full social theory of the deviance whereby the criminologist must consider; the way in which wealth and power are distributed, the circumstances surrounding the decision of an individual to commit an act of deviance, the meant of the deviant act for the person involved, the ways in which other members of society such as the police respond to t the deviant act and the impact of the deviant label.
Some researchers give evidence of a third type -state crime where by the state or agencies such as police or military commit crime on behalf of the state. White collar crimes are often treated differently to other crimes, this is due to four main factors; these crimes are largely hidden from the public, large scale frauds are highly complex and difficult to unravel, it is difficult to allocate responsibility and they are often described as crimes without victims. The Criminal justice system is a lot more lenient with punishments, because they are more likely to issue official warnings instead of giving a jail sentence etc. The Regulatory bodies are more concerned with compliance than with identifying offences they advise rather than punish and thus white-collar criminals get away with. Merton's his strain theory was developed to explain this crime. If people in white-collar occupations find that pay increases and promotions blocked then they sometimes innovate and turn into illegal means to become successful. Corporations have subculture whereby they endlessly pursue wealth and profit, this culture encourages risk taking, success at all costs is demanded even if this means fraud, bribery and corruption. Breaking the law is just a small price to pay for the chance at monetary success.
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