This essay identifes what white collar (or corporate) crime is, how it is allowed to exist, its effects and how better the problem could be dealt with, including legislative reform.

Essay by Linz68University, Bachelor'sA-, April 2004

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This essay will commence with an examination of what corporate crime is and how it affects our society. It will then examine the conditions within our society that allow corporate crime to exist and the way in which the corporate world is able to exercise influence to maintain a lack of regulatory control that has led to serious community detriment including death, serious injury and massive shareholder losses following the collapse of giant transnational corporations both in Australia and overseas.

This essay will examine the difference between crimes committed by individuals in pursuit of corporate profit and crimes committed by individuals for individuals. The whole approach to this issue will be shown to be imbalanced by the forms of regulation imposed and sentencing of offenders.

It will conclude by looking at the ways in which legislation and regulation could be improved with a view of making corporations more accountable by strengthening principles of individual accountability through conventional and creative strategies.

What is corporate crime?

Steven Box differentiates 'conventional' crime from corporate crime referring to 'street crimes' and 'suite crimes'. Most people would agree that it is a more heinous act to assault a person and rob them of their personal belongings in the street than to overcharge them on their bill or to supply goods weighing less than that specified on the packaging, but this is a very narrow view of the comparison between corporate and street crime.

The following definition is useful when considering what corporate crime is.

'Organizational crimes are illegal acts of omission or commission of an individual or a group of individuals in a legitimate formal organisation in accordance with the operative goals of the organisation which have a serious physical or economic impact on employees, consumers or the general public.'

Schrager and Short use the...