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

By Gilbert Geis | Go to book overview

22
PUBLIC ATTITUDES TOWARD A FORM OF
WHITE-COLLAR CRIME

Donald J. Newman

Surely there are crimes of different kinds; but among all these kinds, there is, no less surely, a common element. The proof of this is that the reaction which crimes call forth from society, in respect of punishment, is, save for differences of degree, always and ever the same. The unity of effect shows the unity of cause.--Emile Durkheim

The inclusion of the concept of "white-collar crime" into the subject matter of criminology has, of course, necessitated revisions of formerly popular theories of criminal behavior and has redirected criminological research to include white-collar offenses and offenders within its framework. Only bare beginnings have been made. By its nature, white-collar crime is difficult to study; laws and offenses are complex and many times violators are corporations rather than persons and are not to be found conveniently housed in prisons awaiting the researcher. Furthermore, white-collar crime is not an entity. There are many different variations of occupational duplicity, ranging from embezzlement to the illegal formation of cartels. Research to date, with the exception of Sutherland's definitive study, has concentrated chiefly on embezzlement and violations of wartime regulations. The purpose of most of this research has been to describe the violations, defend their inclusion as "real crimes" and thus

____________________
Reprinted from Social Problems, 4 ( January, 1953), pp. 228-232.

-287-

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