TOPIC 3: MARXISM
· For Marxists, crime is inevitable in capitalism because capitalism is criminogenic- by its very nature it causes crime.
· Poverty may mean that crime is the only way the working class can survive.
· Relative Deprivation means crime may be the only way they can obtain the consumer goods encouraged by capitalist advertising, resulting in theft.
· Alienation and lack of control over their lives may lead to frustration and aggression, resulting in non-utilitarian crimes such as violence.
· Crime is not confined to the working class. The need to win at all costs or go out of business, along with the desire of self-enrichment, encourages capitalists to commit white collar and corporate crime e.g. tax evasion.
Snider: 'Corporation Crime'
· Snider argues that corporation crime is the most serious crime in modern industrial countries. She showed this by carrying out research and found out that street crime in the USA cost $4 billion to fix whereas corporation crime cost $80 billion to fix.
· She also argues that the state wants to attract and protect investment, hence that is why they fail to regulate with laws such as health and safety in the workplace.
· Finally she argues that there is little prosecution of corporation crime due to it being costly and there being little chance of success.
Gordon: 'Law Enforcement'
· Gordon argues, crime is a rational response to the capitalist system and hence it is found in all social classes- even though the official statistics make it appear to be largely working-class phenomenon. Why?
1. Economic infrastructure influences social relationships, values (max profit and wealth).
2. Economic self-interest above collective wellbeing.
3. Competition encourages individual achievement at expense of others e.g. aggression.
How does law enforcement support capitalism?
· By punishing the w/c, blaming them and drawing attention away from the 'system'.
· Imprisoning the w/c neutralises opposition 'legitimately'.
· Defining criminals as enemies of the state justifies to keep them hidden- if made public they could question the whole 'system'.
The state and law making:
· Marxists see law making and law enforcement as only serving the interests of the capitalist class e.g. Chambliss argues that laws to protect private property are the cornerstone of the economy.
· Chambliss illustrates this with the case of the introduction of English law into Britain's East African colonies. The British introduced a tax payable in cash to force the African population to work for them. Since cash to pay the tax could only be earned by working on the plantations, the law served the economic interests of the capitalist plantation owners.
· The ruling class also have the power to prevent the introduction of laws that would threaten their interests e.g. there are few laws that challenge the unequal distribution of wealth.
· Snider argues that the capitalist state is…