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Elites and the Creation of Criminal Law.docx

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Social Science
SOSC 2350
Sadia Mariam Malik

Essay Question 3 Marx criticism on Law Elites and the Creation of Criminal Law Criminal law dictated by elites through o Direct involvement in law making process o Influence and control of bureaucracy o Mobilization of bias NOT public opinion or interestDemonstrated through the reflection of elite interests in vagrancy laws and how different platforms changed these laws over timeLegal Innovation The Emergence of the Law of Vagrancy in England o 1274 statutebans vagrants from residing and begging in religious houses giving to the nondisabled poor They must be willing to become servants provided that they have no other means of laboro 1351 stipulates that disobeying this statue is punishable by 15 days jail time with a justification Statute is the result of changes in social structure o Black Death in England 1348decimated work force 50 of population died o Time in which economy was dependent on cheap labourSerfs agricultural labourersslaves were slowly depleting as lords were selling them their freedom in order to build fundsSerfs joined armies and fled towns Thus free labour depletes Workers would no longer do free labouras employment costs increase landowners struggle also increases o Thus vagrancy laws created to force laborers free and unfree to work for low wages Wage stabilization legislation Statutes of Labourersevery able bodied person must work unlawful to request greater wages or give charity to vagrants refusing to work Attempts to make vagrancy law a substitute for serfdomLaws therefore connected to the ECONOMIC INSTITUTION of the time and created to alleviate the problems in this area Sought to reverse a social change already taking placelabourers were mobilizing therefore making vagrants the new labourers would make them a commodity in which landowners did not have to compete Dormancy mobility of laborers was no longer a concern thus vagrancy laws were inconsequential and rarely applied as society moves into a free market economyIn 1500s period of serfdom is completely over and labor mobility is not a concern The onus shifts towards criminalizing vagrants New statute o Makes distinction between types of offenders
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