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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 78314 Add to Shopping cart Find in a Library
Title: Toward a Political Economy of White Collar Crime
Author(s): J C Quicker
Date Published: 1978
Page Count: 27
Sponsoring Agency: National Institute of Justice/
Rockville, MD 20849
Sale Source: National Institute of Justice/
NCJRS paper reproduction
Box 6000, Dept F
Rockville, MD 20849
United States of America
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This paper examines certain historical forms of white-collar crime in the United States to demonstrate that such crime is often a necessary and useful part of capitalist growth.
Abstract: White-collar crime is committed primarily by the bourgeoisie and petty bourgeoisie in their struggles to advance profits. Because the primary function of the capitalist state is to protect the bourgeois class, various forms of white collar crime are permitted to exist if they do not threaten this class's interests. Early bourgeois tycoons such as Pierpont Morgan and Commodore Vanderbilt exploited the Civil War to make enormous profits with total disregard for the law. Few were punished or even admonished for their profiteering because they provided war materials vital to the North's victory and advanced the interests of the emerging industrial bourgeoisie. The development of the railroad also illustrates the symbiotic relationship of the early bourgeoisie and the state. Railroad construction involved thefts of millions of acres of public land, threats and bribery to force citizens to vote for bond issues, and profits gained through deliberate cost overestimates. However, the railroads generated new prosperity as businesses were created or expanded and workers were provided with jobs. Antitrust measures developed when the laissez faire capitalism of the robber barons produced monopoly and economic stability and a more orderly society to promote the steady growth of capital was desired. Presidents such as Teddy Roosevelt continued to support big business interests, and much antitrust legislation was unenforceable. The scandal over Lockheed's questionable methods of procuring Government contracts provides a contemporary illustration of the collusion between state and bourgeoisie to promote white collar crime. The state remains an ardent defender of defense corporations because they are vital to bourgeois imperialism, as evidenced in other disclosures of illegal corporate payments to public officials. White collar crime has been an integral part of capitalism, and the bourgeoisie continue to respect the shrewdness shown by these transgressors. The paper includes 33 references. (Author abstract modified)
Index Term(s): Antitrust offenses; Capitalism; Corruption of public officials; Marxism; Radical criminology; White collar crime
Note: Paper presented at the Society for the Study of Social Problems, Annual Meetings, San Francisco, CA, September, 1978.
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