The Rise Of White Collar Crime: A Theoretical Perspective

994 words - 4 pages

White Collar Crime is becoming a much bigger problem in today's society than it was in the past. Factors that contribute to the increase of white collar crimes include advances in technology, growth of the information age using computers and the internet, higher levels of education, and the fact that there is a greater emphasis on money and power in today's society than there has been in the past. Higher levels of education, coupled with the advancement of technology and the age of the internet have made it easier for white collar criminals to avoid detection. These factors have also increased the opportunity to commit these types of offenses and have enabled offenders to develop new and improved ways to commit such crimes. While most of these factors can be originally viewed as positive enforcements, they have the opposite effect where white collar crime is concerned. The shift in behavior from upstanding businessman to career criminal might be further explained by looking at some of theories associated with deviant behavior.Although, white collar crime is hard to theorize due to the nature of the criminal act some theories that can be used to help understand it better are the Rational Choice Theory, the Anomie-Strain Theory, and possibly the Differential Association Theory. However, so far efforts to place one particular theory on white collar crimes have been unsuccessful. Nevertheless, we will look at the theories mentioned and their relationship to these types of criminal behavior.First, we will look at the Rational Choice Theory and how it can be used to understand the motivation behind some white collar criminals. This theory basically takes the position that criminal behavior is a matter of free will and choice. It involves an analysis of the situation, which includes the act of the prospective perpetrator considering his/her needs and wants, the potential gain that he/she will get from the criminal activity and the risk level of getting caught and the potential consequences if he/she is caught. Since white collar crimes are mainly committed by society members with a high social status who are well-educated, they can utilize technology to make detecting the criminal behavior extremely difficult. This decreases the risk of getting caught and in turn, increases the rationalization that he/she will benefit more from engaging in the criminal activity than from choosing not to. Coupled with the fact that the punishment for white collar crimes is often considered to not be that serious in nature; the potential financial gain involved in committing the act far out ways the expected punishment should the criminal activity be detected. Thus, under the Rational Choice Theory, white collar crime occurs because the perpetrators perceive that they stand to obtain substantial personal gain and the amount that they stand to benefit from the illegal activity is far more rewarding than what they stand to lose.Secondly, we will look at the Anomie-Strain...

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