Еhe economic burden of white-collar crime

Published 30 May 2017

White-collar crimes are the crimes committed by individuals belonging to the higher section of the society and who have a great amount of respectability in the eye of the public. Usually such crimes would be committed by the individual in their occupational role. Most of the crimes committed by the white collared individuals are deliberate and organized so as to gain financially or personally, using their power. These crimes may be handled by several means including not bringing the issue up to the court; using their administrative powers to cover up the case; proving that their actions are not crimes at all; and often implicated the individuals who had no power (who were often the middle and the lower classes). The lower classes are often implicated because:-

  • Someone has to pay financially for the crimes of the white-collared staff and the middle and lower classes are involved as they do not have great powers
  • Evidence is tempered and often the lower and the middle classes are implicated in the crime
  • The white-collared staff often uses the middle-class and the lower-class as a public eye-wash.

During the 1970’s there was a rise in the number of white-collared crimes, and several people who had a lot of powers including businessmen, politicians, corporate personnel, etc, were involved in such crimes.

Let’s now take an example of how the crime committed by the white-collared staff would be shifted to the lower classes. A white-collared staff commits a crime involving misappropriation of funds and is taken to court. In the court of law, a target, witness and a subject would be present. In this case the target would be the white-collared staff and the witness would be a corporate insider. However, since the white-collared staff would be having power over the witness, he is likely to be favored and escape with this crime. If a witness not favored by the white-collared staff is brought in, he may have to enter into a felony guilty plea.

A white-collared staff working for a governmental organization would be misusing the public or taxpayers money for his personal benefit. The higher affluent of the society would not mind paying for taxes. On the other hand, the middle and the lower classes would be feeling the pinch as the amount they have spend on paying taxes has been swallowed by the white-collared staff. As paying taxes have not provided them with any benefits, the middle and the lower classes of the society would be suffering most from the crimes of the white-collared staff.

Frequently, an innocent person would be utilized by the white-collared staff for a cover-up. They would be utilizing their power to modify evidence so that they are able to escape with their crime and to involve the innocent middle and lower classes. Frequently, the middle and the lower classes are found guilty of the crimes that they have not even committed and are hence made to pay out of their pockets for the crimes of the white-collared staff.

In a study conducted in the US, it was found that the white-collared staffs commit crimes in excess of two hundred billion dollars every year. On the other hand, if you take certain petty crimes such as burglary and theft put together, it costs only a fraction of the amount that is swallowed by the white-collared staff every year. However, the petty criminals who commit burglary and theft are more frequently prosecuted with severe punishments, than the white-collared staff (who swallow much larger amounts and escape scot-free). It is important to note that the defendants should not be punished based on the class of society to which they belong, but on the nature and the severity of the crimes.


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