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Lecture 15

CRIM 1650 Lecture 15: Corporate and White-Collar Crime (Part 1)

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York University
CRIM 1650
James Williams

Corporate and White Collar Crime (Week 6 – Feb 14) “Normalization of Deviance”  “crime”, law, and power  ability of corporations to normalize their activities and resist or avoid the application of criminal law o economic and political resources being applied to the amplification of deviance o safe political and economic resources may be used to resist the application of the law o generates activities of corporations o this dynamic of normalizing and resisting the law that neutralizes white-collar crime o normalization: the stigma of deviant activity/behaviour is viewed as normal and is not considered a criminal act o laundering of corporate criminality  normalization of deviance as a reflection of corporate influence on both the formation and enforcement of law o passing of legislation o enforcement  the ability to control and resist the activity of regulatory agents which seek to implement  *use their influence to normalize their activities  language of corporate wrongdoing and the flexibility of law o further enabled by the unique language used by corporations??? o Criminal vs. non-criminal (Normal) o In the realm of corporate and white-collar crime there is a range of categories and terms to describe and discuss criminals in the corporate world  They are usually described as unethical – sometimes immoral  Ethics and business is referred to  Criminals law, civil law, regulatory law, ethical violation o Rather than crime, corporate crime can be described as violations o Legally respond to corporate misdemeanours without considering it a crime o Creative sanctions: ex. (1990’s) the deferred prosecution agreement  A corporation will be criminally charged and then given the opportunity to take the steps to address the misconduct – cooperating with the police investigation, how to address the issue to society  Decriminalization of corporate crime: “objective harm” vs. “perceived harm” o Constructed harm Definition of Terms  White collar (occupational) crime o A “criminal” act committed in course of one’s occupation for the benefit of the individual  Ex. misappropriation of funds – a phantom account to get extra pay  Corporate (organizational) crime o A criminal act committed in the course of organizational activities for the benefit of the corporation  Ex. false advertising, violation of health and safety procedures  Serve the benefit of the corporation by decreasing costs or boosting something else  Economic crime o Crime of an economic or financial nature perpetrated by individuals and/or groups independently of a specific occupational role of organizational function  Corporations and individuals would be victims of this type of crime Barriers to Definition and measurement  Defining corporate “crime”: the Sutherland-Tappan Debate o Dec. 1939 o Included the oil industry o Engaged in the attempt to study the violations of the US government  1900-1944: legal decisions regarding legal decisions of the US government which included violations of law (false advertisement, unfair labour practices)  70/900 decisions regarding mining and the merchant working class????  Result: 158 (16%) included findings of criminal wrongdoing  The remainder were pursued through criminal wrongdoing o Civil lawsuits etc., and could not be considered crimes o 1949 publication: in order for an activity to be defined as a white-collar crime it has to satisfy two criteria:  the acts must be legally prohibited  there must be a legal description of the act being socially unjust  the act needed to be covered by a legal penalty  legal penalty for the act in question o if these were me
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