White-Collar Criminal: The Offender in Business and the Professions

By Gilbert Geis | Go to book overview

II CORPORATE AND BUSINESS WHITE-COLLAR CRIME

Ready access to the records of administrative agencies and federal regulatory boards undoubtedly conditioned Sutherlands' concentration upon corporate violations to epitomize his newly minted concept of white-collar crime. "Crime of Corporations," the first paper in Part II, was read before the Toynbee Club, a group of sociology students and faculty members at DePauw University, during the spring of 1948. In an informal manner, Sutherland spelled out for his audience the ingredients that were to be arrayed more formally and formidably in his classic monograph, White Collar Crime. The major drawback in the paper remains its inability to differentiate between the corporations and their management personnel. It was the absence of relevant material going to the heart of his concept that forced Sutherland to "humanize" or "anthropomorphize" the corporations and which seems to have led him into taking rather too literally the personifications that he himself had created.

Corporations are, of course, legal entities, and they may be subjected to criminal prosecutions, though a corporation obviously cannot be imprisoned. For the purpose of criminological analysis, however, corporations cannot readily be considered persons, except by recourse to the type of extrapolatory

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