Reasons for differences in amount of convictions for corporate crime, and conventional crime Essay

Corporate crime refers to crime that has spanned over a period of time involving a range of sources and related implications. This is often cleverly masked crime that is likely to resemble a huge jigsaw puzzle consisting of the actions of the bourgeoisie. Due to the status and contacts that go hand in hand with people in positions of power their acts of crime and deviance may merely stay as the ‘undetected crime’ in society regardless of its consequences and it’s severity in nature.

Conventional crime tends to relate to the more day-day crimes committed by the proletariat amongst society. Examples include some car crime, petty theft, low-level fraud etc. Systems, values and family structural positions in society all encompass social attitudes in how crime is acknowledged, defined and possibly prosecuted.

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‘For more than a century and a half a particular model of family life has been dominant. It is, essentially, the model of the middle-class Victorian family: the private, self-contained unit, with breadwinning father married to non-employed caring mother and two or more children. It has never been universal. However, it has exerted a forceful influence as am ideal. The origins of its influence can be traced to Victorian philanthropy: in the interests of reforming the working classes and saving them from inequalities forced upon them by industrialisation, the well-meaning middle classes set about teaching temperance and respectability- a package including a system of values about family life which emphasised maternal care, domesticity, and privacy.

Gradually, over many decades, the middle-class model spread into the working class communities. By the 1950’s, it had become conventional for a working class woman to be isolated at home, with her children as her prime concern and the centre of her attention, while her husband went out to learn a living for them all. The family was seen as a refuge, a ‘haven in a heartless world.’

Coote, Harman, ; Hewitt (1994)

The above text suggests that wider social processes exercise influence on family forms and patterns.

From the 1960’s onwards a large amount of literature in support of women’s liberation came from the presses. Many suggestions have been put forward by feminist writers as to how women’s position in society can be improved. There has however been no agreement about the complete aims of women’s liberation.

Although factors such as social class have huge impact on a person’s life people generally now have more freedom of expression and are encouraged to discuss, make decisions, and initiate change for the better. Demographic trends tend to show improved lifestyle provision and movement from what were fairly fixed traditional roles. The change occurring from this for children is a more expressive and developing generation and economy. However some within this economy will be tempted to stray towards criminal acts in an effort to achieve enhanced status. The higher one’s societal position, the easier it seems to be for them to diminish their responsibility.

‘Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing and housing.’

United Nations Declaration of Human Rights.

Due to the basics often being difficult or frustrating for the proletariat to obtain this can lead to people deciding that they are entitled to and in fact require more for themselves and their family. The systems in society are not equal and money strongly links to power and this influence can exert itself in the form of escaping legalities through means of wealth. This is witnessed by the ever-striving, often hard-working bourgeoisie who may choose to obtain by illegal methods. Crime is clearly easier to detect when committed for such reason as frustration at lack of ability to achieve a comfortable lifestyle. This is the notion of where one is not gaining in one area at the expense of another.

It may be said that society is ‘not fair’ and it is perhaps worrying that people for example at the head of companies may escape adhering to law due to their actions not being clear cut and for example the productive influence that they exert over society.

Marxism supports Capitalism. The family is part of the superstructure. It passes on ideologies that justify inequality. The passing on of inequality enables the bourgeoisie to maintain control of the economic base. The family evolved in order to establish paternity in order to protect private property. The family is oppressive and inhibits creativity, it is an ideological conditioning device. Marxists don’t believe that things work together they believe that stratification makes society divisive. They see stratification as a mechanism whereby some exploit others, rather than as a means of furthering collective goals. Marxists focus on social strata rather than social inequality in general.

Under Capitalism, the Capitalists own the means of production, the proletariat (lower or working class) own only their capacity to work. Landlords rule the land and the peasants are less significant than workers. They are trapped in the idiocy of rural life. The proletariat include those who produce much needed objects in factories with their hands. Class hatred is a good thing and class collaboration is a bad thing.

Social Stratification is the term used to describe class, status and power. Society is split up into different parts and a person’s social class is a division into which they fall. People with money have spending power and people without money can be seen as powerless making it more difficult for them to attempt to move away from poverty. This is an explanation for why some can be seen to turn to crime and why it is easy for these people to be prosecuted.

Milton Freedman (1962) argues that there are only two ways of co-ordinating the economic activities of millions, one is central direction using coercion- the technique of the army and the modern totalitarian state. The other is voluntary co-operation of individuals, behaviour used by the marketplace.

Two incompatible aims are that of equality and liberty. Each individual aim may only be achieved if part of the other is sacrificed. Egalitarianism (characterised by belief of equality for all) is able to be accomplished only at the expense of personal liberty. We therefore need to choose balance between these values; we are unable to have all or both. For many this creates problems due to lack of acceptable standards of living in relation to standards displayed by the majority number in a society. In turn, this can lead to people achieving their means required in un-orthodox ways.

Marx argued that all societies involve conflict, sometimes open, but more usually submerged beneath the surface of everyday life. The most important of conflicts was that between social classes (the bourgeoisie and the proletariat) and it was the constant antagonism between these two classes that created social change. The basis of this conflict lies in the fact that wealth is created by the proletariat, it is taken away privately by the bourgeoisie in the form of profits.

Weaknesses of Marxism are that the approach towards the family bases itself on assumptions about the nature of society i.e. that it rests upon conflict between opposing groups. Marxism ignores family diversity and sees the nuclear family as being simply determined by the economy. It ignores how change can come about because of legal and attitudinal changes, it also can be said to be too critical. A strength of Marxism is that it links the family to inequality in the capitalist society.

It is clear to see from looking at both societal sociologically based approaches that there have been changes to family life because of improvements in sanitation and communications leading to changes such as increasing life expectancy, the lowering of infant mortality rates and the ageing of the population.

The Capitalist society works best, though it has drawbacks because some people become materialistic wanting more money for things they don’t always need.

A Marxist society such as China limits people’s choices and they become repressed. The state decides on wages, and controls the number of number of children people are allowed to have. The money given to these people keeps them just above the breadline. However things are beginning to change in the larger towns and cities, individuals are beginning to get more rights.

Talcot Parsons (1955) suggested that the lost functions of the family have been replaced by modern institutions. Examples include production carried out in factories. Education, carried out in schools. Health is now the province of the medical profession and the hospital. Leisure is provided for by a range of institutions including the TV and media.

This supports the Capitalist view that society is functional under the direction and influence of power that we succumb to. The fact that we appear to need ever increasing service provision indicates that we do in fact need societal hierarchy. We may be exploited at the hands of this power and given just enough to make us function happily but with a desire for more than just enough to get by. It is this desire that can often lead to conventional crime and it perhaps seems ever determined that conventional crime is here to stay. We need power exerted upon us to promote production. It is often very complicated to prosecute conventional crime.

Society functions effectively with a range of changing roles.

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