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White collar crime 14
200 word discussion and a response
Provide me with your personal theory on white-collar crime. I want to know
the demographics of the offenders, the overall financial ramifications of their
actions, and the impact their collective crimes have on individuals.
Furthermore, I would like for you to discuss WHY white-collar crimes occur in
the first place. With that, how would you solve the problem? What policy
prescriptions and/or oversight would you implement?
Response
My take on white-collar crime is that it has to do with strains that individuals face in the
workplace – these strains cause them to react in a criminal manner (like the Strain theory).
The book states that Strain theory “focuses on the way stresses and strains contribute to
offending” (p. 286). And, strains are not limited to certain causes. Everyone feels stress and
strain in the workplace, so it is especially easy to see how different occurrences lead an
individual to commit a crime on the white-collar level. Nobody thinks the same way, so
strains are perceived in a different way. It depends on the severity of the individual who is
willing to commit a crime, such as fraud, due to their personal strains.
In regard to demographics of white-collar offenders, it is notable that most offenders are
middle-class white males who tend to be in their 30s-40s. White-collar offending is not
limited to this demographic though, as anyone who is in the white-collar occupation can
commit a crime. An adequate, demographic representation of white-collar offenders can be
viewed in popular scandals such as the Enron scandal.
White-collar crimes have financial ramifications that harm corporations and the people who
are associated with those corporations (both employees and customers). These ramifications
can be categorized as individual economic losses and societal economic losses. One impact
of these crimes is mentioned in the book, on p. 37; There, it is stated that “Kane and Wall
(2006) cite estimates suggesting that white-collar crime costs the United States between 300
and 600 billion dollars a year in financial losses”. That is an enormous loss. It is hard to make
up for such severe financial losses, although acts and prohibitions have been implemented to
control ramifications and consequences that victims of financial/fraud crimes face.
White-collar crimes occur for many different reasons. Some employees and employers are
faced with a sense of strain in their workplace. They are struggling to achieve a certain goal,
so they commit crimes to reach that “achievement”. Others commit crimes solely because of
greed. They want money that they cannot obtain without committing crime. It has also been
observed that social systems reflect the habits of offenders. This doesn’t explain “why” it
occurs, but it provides insight on what influences someone to develop criminal behavior.
One way to solve white-collar crime issues would be to concentrate on employee wants and
needs. Their environment has an impact on their criminal behavior. I do not know if it is
proven, but I would think that you can discourage criminal behavior through the
development of a “positive” workplace environment; one that can deflect an individual’s
willingness to commit a crime. Encouraging people to look for suspicious activity, through
policy, is also important. Addressing individual employee’s issues will help them to (possibly)
change their mind. I suppose that increasing physical security measures would help as well.
My sources:
Payne, B. K. (2017). White-collar crime: The essentials. Los Angeles: SAGE.
Ragatz, L. L., Fremouw, W., & Baker, E. (2012). The Psychological Profile of White-collar Offenders:
Demographics, Criminal Thinking, Psychopathic Traits, and Psychopathology. Criminal Justice and
Behavior, 39(7), 978–997. https://doi.org/10.1177/0093854812437846

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