Skip to Main Content
Corporate Crime

Corporate Crime: Contemporary Debates

Copyright Date: 1995
Pages: 426
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Corporate Crime
    Book Description:

    Corporate crime inflicts massive harm on employees, consumers, workplaces, economies, and the environment, but there are inadequate controls and few deterrent mechanisms, and sanctions are mild relative to the harm done. There is little agreement on remedies and praxis, reflecting an underlying diversity of opinion on the causes of corporate criminality.

    Corporate Crime is a collection of original papers by many of the world's leading experts on corporate crime, and covers its causes, extent, and control. It provides discussions of all the major areas of corporate criminal conduct, looking at the relationship between corporate structure and corporate crime. It opens up debate on appropriate control strategies to deter perpetrators and minimize harm. The discussions centre around strategies to control the social, economic, and political costs of various kinds of corporate crime - within the corporate organization and the fields of finance, occupational health and safety, and environmental degradation.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-7348-9
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

Export Selected Citations Export to NoodleTools Export to RefWorks Export to EasyBib Export a RIS file (For EndNote, ProCite, Reference Manager, Zotero, Mendeley...) Export a Text file (For BibTex)
  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-x)
  3. Contributors
    (pp. xi-xiv)
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xv-2)
  5. 1 Introduction
    (pp. 3-16)

    This book examines various kinds of corporate crime, focusing on its causes, extent, and control. It brings together scholars interested in corporate crime from a number of the Anglo-American democracies and from many disciplines. These people work in Canada, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Australia, and their disciplinary backgrounds range from law and business to economics, political science, and sociology. In their papers, written specially for this volume, we find complex examinations of a number of common themes.¹

    There is widespread agreement on the seriousness of corporate crime and the massive amount of harm it causes to economies,...

  6. Part I Controlling Corporate Crime

    • 2 Regulating Capitalism
      (pp. 19-47)

      Any study dealing with corporate crime and regulation today must address questions about the continuing viability of the nation-state. Legislation originating in national (federal) or provincial (state) levels has been the main vehicle for controlling the offences of corporations in Western democracies. However partial and inadequate regulation has been, there is no comparable countervailing body with the motivation or ability to oversee the vast agglomerations of privilege and power known as corporations.

      Recently, moreover, the nation-state has been undermined both externally and internally. Internally, ethnic tensions, the rise of interest-group politics, increasing unemployment, and lower standards of living have led...

    • 3 Corporate Crime and Republican Criminological Praxis
      (pp. 48-71)

      In this chapter, I seek to describe the essence of the theoretical, empirical, and applied projects in the area of corporate regulation in which I have been engaged over the past decade and to explain its relationship to my general theoretical and empirical work. That essence, I argue, is republican – a label that would not necessarily be accepted by many of my co-authors and colleagues in the political endeavours that I describe.

      Republicans are in a paradoxical position – they believe in undertaking collective intellectual enterprises with non-republicans, and they believe that dialogue with people who reject republican theory...

    • 4 Should We Prosecute Corporations and/or Individuals?
      (pp. 72-86)

      Only dim echoes linger today in the jurisprudence of the United States, England, and Canada of the once-intense debate about whether it is proper – ethically, juridically, and in terms of effectiveness – to punish a corporation criminally rather than, or in addition to, punishing individuals within it. The position that corporations are fair game for criminal charges now has swept aside virtually all legal barriers that stood in its path (for a good review of this development, see Elkins 1976).¹ As one writer has noted: ‘Early decisions in this area evidence a reluctance to convict a corporation of a...

    • 5 Feminism, Law, and the Pharmaceutical Industry
      (pp. 87-108)

      The feminist goals of equality, control over our own bodies, and avoidance of harm provide a framework for the analysis of laws on pharmaceutical products. Drugs and devices prescribed for treatment and contraception have particular effects on women. The regime of law compensating injury and regulating drug marketing is based on flawed assumptions, and these have a differential impact on women. Recommendations for change need to take account of differences among patients, broaden the concern for autonomy and bodily integrity, and incorporate equality as a goal.

      Feminist goals include equality, affirmation of difference, control over our own bodies, and avoidance...

  7. Part II Corporate Form and Corporate Organization

    • 6 Preliminary Observations on Strains of, and Strains in, Corporate Law Scholarship
      (pp. 111-131)

      This entire volume could be filled with the queer effects of the personification of industrial enterprises in mixing ceremony with the production and distribution of goods. Control of great organizations drifted out of the hands of those who knew the techniques of the business and into the hands of bankers. Stock manipulation became more important in control than efficiency of production. Organizations competed with each other in building magnificent structures for pure show and in order to gain dignity and prestige in the company of their peers. Great law offices grew up in New York to supply the infinitely complicated...

    • 7 Corporate Crime and New Organizational Forms
      (pp. 132-146)

      This paper has emerged from two overlapping sets of interests.¹ One, and of much longer standing, is my concern with the regulation of occupational health and safety, specifically with the nature and prevention of safety crimes; the second involves arguments around the emergence of ‘new’ forms of organization.

      The chapter considers, in schematic form, some of the relationships between these two areas of interest. It offers a selective outline of certain points of (actual and/or potential) contradiction and complementarity, and it raises many more questions than it answers. Yet I hope that it also suggests areas both for future academic...

    • 8 Management, Morality, and Law: Organizational Forms and Ethical Deliberations
      (pp. 147-167)

      To this time,¹ most research on corporate wrongdoing has taken one or another of three forms: statistical examinations of the financial and structural correlates of offending as determined in the public record (e.g., Clinard et al. 1979; Clinard and Yeager 1980; Simpson 1986, 1987; Baucus and Near 1991); case studies of specific illegal events based largely on public records, investigative journalism, and interviewing (e.g., Geis 1967; Sonnenfeld and Lawrence 1978; Mokhiber 1988); and numerous surveys of business executives’ and managers’ attitudes and behaviours in respect of ethics and law (e.g., Baumhart 1961; Silk and Vogel 1976; Brenner and Molander 1977;...

    • 9 Loosely Coupled Systems and Unlawful Behaviour: Organization Theory and Corporate Crime
      (pp. 168-178)

      Over the past two decades, researchers have paid increasing attention to corporate crime and have proposed a number of explanations of corporate criminality. At the social-psychological level, they include theories such as differential association (Sutherland 1949) and variations of strain theory, formulated at both the individual and corporate levels (Clinard 1983; Simpson 1986; Keane 1993), while recently Coleman (1989) proposed a combination of conditions such as motivation, neutralization, and opportunity. Theories developed at the corporate or industry level include those focusing on corporate culture and structure (Vaughan 1983) and on market conditions and regulatory enforcement (Geis 1967). Other organizational-level theories...

  8. Part III Financial Crimes

    • 10 Serious Fraud in Britain: Criminal Justice versus Regulation
      (pp. 181-198)

      When evaluating the objectives of governments in capitalist societies in dealing with ‘serious fraud,’ the initial starting point of readers may be cynicism. Particularly if governments wish to develop ‘popular capitalism’ and attract overseas funds into their markets, it has become conventional wisdom to assert that national and individual corporate reputation for fair dealing and for prevention of outright securities fraud is very important. However, the relation between reputation and actual action against fraud, and the precise role of the criminal justice process, remain sites for considerable conflict. The difficulties that governments have experienced in raising revenues during the late...

    • 11 Saving the Savings and Loans? U.S. Government Response to Financial Crime
      (pp. 199-213)

      In early 1988, the mass media began to report signs of extensive fraud in the U.S. savings and loan (S&L) industry.¹ After his election as president, George Bush announced a major effort to bail out the crippled industry and investigate and prosecute thrift crime. Several months later, Congress passed the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery and Enforcement Act of 1989 (FIRREA). This law authorized $225 million over three years to finance the Justice Department’s prosecution of financial fraud. The FBI’s budget for these cases went from less than $60 million for fiscal year 1990 to over $125 million in 1991, and...

    • 12 Public Policy towards Individuals Involved in Competition-Law Offences in Canada
      (pp. 214-242)

      Since 1889, Canada has made certain restraints of trade (notably conspiracies to fix prices and/or divide up markets) criminal offences.¹ Thus Canada preceded the much more famous U.S. Sherman Act (1890) in attempting to prevent agreements among competitors designed to lessen competition because such agreements strike at the heart of what constitutes a competitive market economy. From the beginning, both countries have made both individuals and corporations subject to virtually all of the criminal offences in their respective competition/anti-trust law.

      Even though all organizations operate through the directing minds of men and women, Canadian competition law has, until very recently,...

  9. Part IV Crimes against Occupational Health and Safety

    • 13 And Defeat Goes On: An Assessment of Third-Wave Health and Safety Regulation
      (pp. 245-267)

      Reform of occupational health-and-safety regulation tends to occur in waves which sweep over much of the industrialized capitalist world, leaving behind a more-or-less common model. The first wave, dating roughly from the 1830s to the 1880s, resulted in a regime of market regulation. The second, dating roughly from the 1880s to the 1970s, instituted a weak ‘command and control’ model of direct state regulation. The third and current wave began in the 1970s and combined participatory rights for workers with reforms to external enforcement to create a regime of mandated partial self-regulation.¹ With each reform, there is renewed hope that...

    • 14 Regulating Work in a Capitalist Society
      (pp. 268-283)

      In modern capitalist societies, governments that attempt to protect workers from occupational hazards face a formidable political problem: to be effective, they must force corporate actors to change their behaviour. In most cases, to improve occupational safety-and-health, employers will face increased costs and, in those instances where worker protection requires it, even share power at ‘the point of production’ with well-trained and informed employees. As a result, when governments attempt to exercise state power in defence of workers’ interests in occupational safety-and-health, they usually runs into concerted business opposition.

      Typically, corporate managers argue that worker protection costs too much, interferes...

    • 15 Judgments of Legitimacy regarding Occupational Health and Safety
      (pp. 284-302)

      Risk and definitions of pathology are socially constructed, emerging from complex social and political relationships (Nelkin and Brown 1984). Occupational hazards are not determined through scientific investigation alone, and neither is the distinction between normal and pathological reliant solely on medical evidence. Studies of the social construction of occupational health-and-safety have highlighted the processes involved in definition of hazards, shifts in definitions of acceptable and unacceptable working conditions, linking of symptoms with workplace exposure, and the recognition of ‘new’ diseases. The importance of changes in the balance of social relations of production (in labour’s position vis-à-vis capital), the role of...

  10. Part V Crimes against the Environment

    • 16 Environmental Harm and Corporate Crime
      (pp. 305-321)

      Determining the extent to which environmental harm is corporate in origin and the exact sense in which this damage is criminal is important. This chapter addresses, largely indirectly, both aspects of this task but emphasizes the political and policy means of reducing environmental harm. It identifies some of the limits and uses of a corporate-crime approach to environmental policy and protection. It explains why the notion of corporate crime should not be ignored in a rush to find methods that are more politically acceptable in the present climate.

      There is little doubt that in a moral, as distinct from a...

    • 17 Can Confrontation, Negotiation, or Socialization Solve the Superfund Enforcement Dilemma?
      (pp. 322-338)

      Superfund enforcement represents a unique application of federal powers to induce major U.S. industrial corporations to pay for their historic crimes against the environment. A primary goal is cleanup at hazardous-waste sites that pose threats to public health and the environment. To date, some $15.2 billion of federal money has been authorized to fund an effort estimated to cost between $100 and $300 billion. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) believes that cleanup at as many as 60 per cent of some 1,200 top-priority sites can be financed in this way. To this end, it has recently adopted an aggressive...

    • 18 Controlling Corporate Misconduct through Regulatory Offences: The Canadian Experience
      (pp. 339-351)

      Regulatory offences¹ may lack the ‘glamour’ of crimes,² but they are the most effective penal option³ available to address corporate misbehaviour in Canada.⁴ An examination of recent legislative activity⁵ and court cases⁶ suggests that they will probably remain the preeminent penal tool used to control corporations. While use of criminal sanctions to counter environmental and workplace harm has become the darling of reformers,⁷ legislators and enforcement agencies have no such fixation: certain characteristics of crimes render them of little use against corporations, particularly in environmental and workplace contexts.

      An apt way of comparing the main features of crimes and regulatory...

    • 19 Due Process and the Nova Scotia Herbicide Trial
      (pp. 352-366)

      In recent years, scholars (e.g., Jones 1983; Michalowski and Kramer 1987) who study corporate crime have started to look at the conduct of global, or transnational corporations (TNCs), particularly their socially injurious activities towards indigenous peoples. Such actions have been defined by Michalowski and Kramer (1987) as ‘any action in pursuit of corporate goals which violates national laws, or international standards such as codes of conduct for TNCs developed within the U.N., which results in social injury analogous in severity and source to that caused by corporate violations of law or international standards.’ However, these writers have concerned themselves with...

  11. Cases Cited
    (pp. 367-368)
  12. References
    (pp. 369-408)
  13. Author Index
    (pp. 409-418)
  14. Subject Index
    (pp. 419-426)