White Collar Crime Definition
The term ‘white collar crime’ was introduced by Edwin Sutherland in 1940 (Ferguson, 2010). Under this designation, he defined an offense committed by a respectable person who has a high social status or a high position in an organization. Within the time, criminologists faced a dilemma; the term ‘white collar crime’ required a more detailed explanation in order to apply it effectively on practice. With regard to criminology, the definition offered by Sutherland was unclear and too general. The crimes committed by white collars were as various as those committed by an average criminal. As a result, it caused additional difficulties for policy makers to use information about white collar offenses to develop policies and criminal laws (Ferguson, 2010). In other words, there was no adequate information about specific types of crimes that could be committed by white collars and thus, criminologists could not provide evidences to develop subsequent practices.
According to this fact, there appeared a necessity to make a term of white collar crime deeper and to make it include some specific descriptions of possible misdeeds. Thus, there were introduced some new definitions, the goal of which was to enlarge the definition of white collar and make it more extended. As a result, there were introduced two new terms, such as corporate crime and occupational crime. They gave a detailed explanation of two types of offenses that can be committed in a company (Ferguson, 2010). Each of new denotations is different because it describes the specific behavior which is notified as criminal only in a specific situation or in case of certain conditions. For instance, corporate crime is defined as illegal behavior of an employee whose actions may benefit his/her company or business, while occupational one is the violation of legal codes in a course of a legitimate occupation. Both terms refer to the violations connected with white collars, but define absolutely different meanings of misdeeds. The analogy can be introduced in criminology, where the punishment for robbery and thieving is different, though both definitions are classified as crime.
Later, the typology of white collar offenses received a more diverse classification. The researchers started differentiating white collar crimes in accordance to the nature of the committed misdeeds. As a result, there appeared such “types of white collar crime as workplace deviance, white collar crime as violations of trust, white collar crime as moral or ethical violations, white collar crime as social harm, white collar crime as violations of civil law and others” (Gottschalk, 2010). Each of these classifications provides more accurate description of an offense which makes the work of criminologists more effective since they may define exactly what crime a white collar has committed.
The Concept of “Too-Big-To-Fail”
The concept of ‘too-big-to-fail’ was popularized by Congressman Stewart McKinney in 1984 (Gregory, 2011). Under this term, one should understand that there are some financial institutions the failure of which may cause incredible damage to the country’s economy. Hence, in order to prevent crises, the government should provide the financial and other support to such companies and institutions in order to help them overcome the arisen challenges. Some experts believe that it is a necessary measure, while others state that if a business is too big to fail, then it is better if it fails (Gregory, 2011). The company which has such enormous financial importance for a government should be able to deal with difficulties; in other case, the economy of a country should not be dependent on a corporation which cannot solve even own problems. However, the biggest disadvantage of this concept consists in violations committed by such financial institutions.
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The companies which are classified as too-big-to-fail may use the privilege of the government support in order to achieve their personal goals. They may intentionally create situations which will require the assistance of the governmental institutions. In this way, a company will receive a financial support, though there was no such necessity. As a result, the money from a budget will be spent on a corporation’s personal needs. Such behavior is considered to be illegal and unethical because it demonstrates the government’s incompetence and inability to define the real state of a company. In addition, other firms which follow the ethical code of conduct may be abused with this concept because the principles of competitiveness do not work anymore. In business, only the strongest and the most adaptable to changes will survive. Hence, strong companies become even stronger, while weak ones disappear (Gregory, 2011). As one can see, the principle of evolution, when only the strongest survive, found its reflection in modern business.
The competiveness between companies makes them find new ways and become more resistible to changes, while constant support makes a corporation more careless about its financial stability (Gregory, 2011). Finally, as it was mentioned above, many of such firms start using their privileged positions in personal interests and commit more violations since they believe that their importance is so high for a government that the financial manipulations or other crimes will not be noticed in order to keep the balance of economy. However, if corporations are people and the government is interested in a company’s existence, then people who occupy the ruling positions must be criminally accountable for the business’s activities. The decisions made by a firm cannot be accepted without their participation. Hence, they are totally responsible for all negative outcomes which may occur as the result of such decisions.