Corporate Crime - Discussion - Criminalization


Behavior can be regulated by the civil law (including administrative law) or the criminal law. In deciding to criminalize particular behavior, the legislature is making the political judgment that this behavior is sufficiently culpable to deserve the stigma of being labelled as a crime. In law, corporations can commit the same offences as natural persons. Simpson (2002) avers that this process should be straightforward because a state should simply engage in victimology to identify which behavior causes the most loss and damage to its citizens, and then represent the majority view that justice requires the intervention of the criminal law. But states depend on the business sector to deliver a functioning economy, so the politics of regulating the individuals and corporations which supply that stability become more complex. For the views of Marxist criminology, see Snider (1993) and Snider & Pearce (1995), for Left realism, see Pearce & Tombs (1992) and Schulte-Bockholt (2001), and for Right Realism, see Reed & Yeager (1996). More specifically, the historical tradition of sovereign state control of prisons is ending through the process of privatisation. Corporate profitability in these areas therefore depends on building more prison facilities, managing their operations, and selling inmate labor. In turn, this requires a steady stream of prisoners able to work. (Kicenski: 2002)

Bribery and corruption are problems in the developed world, and the corruption of public officials is thought to be a serious problem in developing countries, and an obstacle to development.

Edwin Sutherland's definition of white collar crime also is related to notions of corporate crime. In his landmark definition of white collar crime he offered these categories of crime:

  • Misrepresentation in financial statements of corporations
  • Manipulation in the stock market
  • Commercial bribery
  • Bribery of public officials directly or indirectly
  • Misrepresentation in advertisement and salesmanship
  • Embezzlement and misappropriation of funds
  • Misapplication of funds in receiverships and bankruptcies (O'Grady: 2011).

Read more about this topic:  Corporate Crime, Discussion

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