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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 71047 Find in a Library
Title: Paragons, Pariahs, and Pirates - A Spectrum-Based Theory of Enterprise
Journal: Crime and Delinquency  Volume:26  Issue:3  Dated:(July 1980)  Pages:358-386
Author(s): D C Smith
Date Published: 1980
Page Count: 29
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article advocates the recognition of a common thread of enterprise that includes legal and criminal businesses along a single spectrum to replace our alien conspiracy notions concerning organized crime.
Abstract: The alien conspiracy perspective, which took shape during the mid to late 1960's, was molded by assumptions about crime and business that had nothing to do with organized crime, but which set some basic understandings about commercial life and economic activity. Five assumptions were particularly important: that business and crime were distinct and totally separate categories of behavior; that business was best understood in terms that encompassed legitimate and legal products or services; that beyond such product classification, size and ownership were the major distinctions within business; that the professionally managed corporation was the predominant model; and that the structure of the professionally managed corporation provided the most useful parallel to the equivalent area of criminal activity. The enterprise perspective, on the other hand, starts from the basic assumption that enterprise takes place across a spectrum that includes both business and certain kinds of crime, that behavior theory can be applied to this spectrum, and that theories of conspiracy and ethnicity are clearly subordinate to a theory of enterprise. In addition, this spectrum includes three firm images: that of the paragon, the pirate, and the pariah. The first two mark the 'saintly' and 'sinful' poles of the spectrum. Pariah industries are those enterprises whose products or processes may not be reputable but for which there exists a social demand. As changing social mores confer legitimacy on pariah enterprises, new relationships develop among entrepreneurs, customers, and regulators. Footnotes are provided.
Index Term(s): Behavioral and Social Sciences; Organized crime; White collar crime
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