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White Collar Crime and Organized Crime

White Collar Crime and Organized Crime

Author: Zach Lamb

Distinguish between white-collar crime, corporate crime, and organized crime.

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Source: Intro Music by Mark Hannan; Public Domain

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[MUSIC PLAYING] Hello. Welcome to Sociological Studies. As always, thank you for taking the time out of your busy day to study society. In today's lesson, we're going to look at white-collar crime, corporate crime, and organized crime. We'll give a descriptive overview of these three forms of crime, to set the stage and lay the groundwork for later tutorials or other tutorials that will look at these topics with more sociological lenses and perspectives. But before we can do that, we need to lay the groundwork and make clear what exactly we mean by forms of crime and deviance. So let's get right into white-collar crime.

White-collar crimes are business- or occupation-related crimes of the elite. And they're often highly educated, sophisticated schemes for crime that are somewhat opaque to anybody outside of these professions. The term "white-collar" versus "blue-collar" came in the early 1900s, when people in professional and managerial jobs wore white collars to work, as opposed to people who worked in manual-service jobs, having to wear cover-ups or uniforms that were darker and more blue-- blue-collar. So that's where this fun little English thing came from.

Examples of white-collar crime include insider trading; Ponzi or pyramid schemes, where everybody pays in and only a few people get paid out, so the person running the scheme can collect all that, but really, there's no solid foundation; business embezzlement and business fraud, or what we call "cooking the books"-- hiding your losses, so your stock value appears much higher. These are examples of white-collar crime. They are often punished less severely, we should note, because it's crimes of the elite. Social conflict approach to deviance gave us that idea.

And the next type of crime we're going to discuss is corporate crime. Corporate crime is illegal or socially adverse-- meaning socially negative-- actions on behalf of corporations, or people who work for or represent corporations. So this can include selling, like, lead-soaked products; there are products that you know are harmful, but you don't care, because you want to make a profit, and you put them out anyway. So this is one example of a corporate crime.

Second, you might pollute the environment, or you might damage the environment, in the production process. We have laws against this, now, but it wasn't always the case. And these laws have gotten more severe, which has caused some corporations to want to move to areas of the world where there are less regulations on things like safety or pollution, because they might be found to be in violation of them and therefore deviant, or criminal.

Lastly, a big part of corporate crime has to do with the safety of the workers or employees of the corporation. Is the corporation complying with all of the government safety regulations in place to protect workers, or not? If they're not, they might be subject to corporate crime.

The final kind of crime we'll talk about is organized crime, something that might be more familiar to all of you. Organized crime is a complex or businesslike provision of illegal, black-market goods and services. So readily examples of "business" black-market organizations are the Mob, gangs, or drug cartels. And again, these are complex, hierarchical, businesslike organizations.

Often, they use violence and manipulation for their purposes. They can sell and purvey sex and drugs. And they operate illegal gambling rings. It's the stuff of movies and Hollywood lore-- mobs especially. And now we have a very active drug cartel in North America. So these are organized crime groups and rings.

Thank you very much for watching this brief overview of types of crime. Have a great rest of your day.

Terms to Know
Corporate Crime

Actions on behalf of corporations that are illegal and socially adverse in their effects.

Organized Crime

The complex and businesslike provision of illegal goods and services such as sex, drugs, and guns.

White Collar Crime

Profession-based crimes of the elite that are often highly sophisticated.