Criminology - major essay
Topic - "Corporate and white-collar crimes are less serious than other kinds of crime, such as violent crime." Discuss
There is a public misconception about white-collar and corporate crime. Many people believe that these crimes are less serious than other forms of crime, such as violent crimes. However, this is far from the truth. White-collar and corporate crimes are just as serious as other forms of crime, if not more so, and the effect they have on society is often more far-reaching. In this essay I will be discussing the severity of corporate and white collar crime in comparison to other forms of crime. I will be providing explanations as to why it is a serious issue in our society, and one that people do not always understand.
There are many different forms of white-collar and corporate crime, but all have one thing in common. That is, they are usually "committed by persons from a middle or upper class socioeconomic background in the course of their occupations"1. White collar crimes include such offences as commercial bribery, tax fraud, environmental offences, and computer related crimes. Corporate crimes are "a subset of white-collar crime"2 and usually occur with the intent of benefiting a corporation. Because these forms of crime sometimes involve large sums of money, and affect a large number of people, their seriousness should not be underestimated.
While I am not suggesting that other forms of crime are not serious, it is evident that corporate and white-collar crimes have more serious long term consequences than other forms of crime, such as violent crime. When discussing violent crime, I am referring to any act of violence against a person, apart from murder. Such offences include muggings, robbery, and any form of bodily harm. Violent crimes have a negative impact of the victim - usually leaving them in physical pain, and with a general fear of crime. However, in most cases, their pain will heal with time, and they will be able to get back to living their lives. Their experience will enable them to be aware of violent crime, so they can protect themselves from it in the future. However, the consequences of white-collar and corporate crime are much more severe and far reaching.
There are many reasons why white-collar and corporate crimes are more serious than other forms of crime. Firstly, the amount of people affected by white-collar and corporate crimes is much more than that of violent crime, or other offences such as shoplifting or burglary. With these other crimes there is usually one person or persons who is directly affected by the crime. However, as White and Haines argue, white-collar and corporate crimes "affect a large number of people directly or indirectly simply because of the capacity of the capitalist to do harm on a large scale"3.