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WHITE COLLAR CRIME

NCJ Number
10815
Author(s)
E H SUTHERLAND
Date Published
1949
Length
287 pages
Annotation
THEORY CONCERNING THE CRIMINAL BEHAVIOR OF PERSONS OF THE UPPER SOCIOECONOMIC CLASS, AND CORPORATE ILLEGAL ACTIVITY.
Abstract
THE THESIS OF THIS BOOK IS THAT PERSONS OF THE UPPER SOCIOECONOMIC CLASS ENGAGE IN MUCH CRIMINAL BEHAVIOR, THAT THIS CRIMINAL BEHAVIOR DIFFERS FROM THE CRIMINAL BEHAVIOR OF THE LOWER SOCIOECONOMIC CLASS PRINCIPALLY IN THE ADMINISTRATIVE PROCEDURES WHICH ARE USED IN DEALING WITH THE OFFENDERS, AND THAT VARIATIONS IN ADMINISTRATIVE PROCEDURES ARE NOT SIGNIFICANT FROM THE POINT OF VIEW OF CAUSATION OF CRIME. THE SIGNIFICANT THING ABOUT WHITE COLLAR CRIME IS THAT IT IS NOT ASSOCIATED WITH POVERTY OR WITH SOCIAL AND PERSONAL PATHOLOGIES WHICH ACCOMPANY POVERTY. SUTHERLAND'S ARGUMENT IS THAT THERE IS ONLY ONE DEFINITION OF CRIME - THE LEGAL DEFINITION. MOST OF THE CONTROVERSY ABOUT SUTHERLAND'S CONTRIBUTION IN THIS AREA HAS ARISEN BECAUSE OF THE BELIEF THAT HE WAS TRYING TO EXTEND OR CHANGE THE CONCEPT OF CRIME. THE VOLUME'S PRINCIPAL ARGUMENT IS THAT THE BEHAVIOR IT EXAMINES IS CRIME BECAUSE IT IS PUNISHABLE BY LAW. PROCEDURAL DIFFERENCES ARE NOT IMPORTANT IF THE OFFENSE IS CLEARLY PROHIBITED BY CRIMINAL LAW. SUTHERLAND IS ASKING THAT WHITE COLLAR OFFENSES BE INCLUDED IN THE DATA ANALYZED BY CRIMINOLOGISTS. WHITE COLLAR CRIME SHOULD BE TAKEN INTO CONSIDERATION IN THE FORMULATION AND DEVELOPMENT OF THEORIES OF CRIME AND CRIMINALITY. A WEALTH OF MATERIAL IN THIS BOOK DEALS WITH THE DECISIONS OF COURTS AND ADMINISTRATIVE COMMISSIONS AGAINST SEVENTY LARGE MANUFACTURING, MINING, AND MERCANTILE CORPORATIONS. THE ANALYSIS IS CONCERNED WITH SUCH VIOLATIONS OF THE LAW AS RESTRAINT OF TRADE, MISREPRESENTATION IN ADVERTISING, AND INFRINGEMENTS OF PATENTS AND COPYRIGHTS. ALSO DISCUSSED ARE UNFAIR LABOR PROBLEMS, REBATES, FINANCIAL FRAUD AND VIOLATION OF TRUST, AND VIOLATIONS OF WAR REGULATIONS. THE DATA SUGGEST THAT WHITE COLLAR CRIME HAS ITS GENESIS IN THE SAME GENERAL PROCESS AS OTHER CRIMINAL BEHAVIOR, NAMELY, DIFFERENTIAL ASSOCIATION. THE HYPOTHESIS OF DIFFERENTIAL ASSOCIATION IS THAT CRIMINAL BEHAVIOR IS LEARNED IN ASSOCIATION WITH THOSE WHO DEFINE SUCH BEHAVIOR FAVORABLY, AND THAT A PERSON IN AN APPROPRIATE SITUATION ENGAGES IN SUCH CRIMINAL BEHAVIOR IF THE HEIGHT OF FAVORABLE DEFINITIONS EXCEEDS THE WEIGHT OF UNFAVORABLE DEFINITIONS. (AUTHOR ABSTRACT MODIFIED)