Outline and Assess Marxist Explanations of the Causes of Crime

719 Words Oct 9th, 2012 3 Pages
Outline and assess Marxist explanations of the causes of crime (50 marks)

It is to a large extent that Marxism is a useful theory in explaining the causes of crime. This is because it highlights the inequalities in society and how the ruling class owns the means of production. This fails to show reasons why not everyone is facing status frustration and lower income turn to crime.

One way in which Marxism is a useful theory for explaining the causes of crime is the concept of capitalism, criminogenic capitalism. Criminogenic capitalism is based on the exploitation of the working class- using them for a means to an end. Crime is not confined to the working class, greed and self interest cause white collar crimes such as tax evasion and
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Chambliss (1979) argued that working class would try to increase wages and working conditions over a period of time. And the ruling class passed a law to limit wages paid to labourers. A more reason example is the government legislation enforcing benefit fraud. This is more of a working class crime. However, Functionalists challenge the concept of status frustration and argue that the laws are made for the good of everyone and that for society to work well it is to avoid anomie. This analysis shows that Marxism is useful to a large extent as it can be shown that there is seen to be a level of status frustration.

One way that Marxism isn’t a useful theory is that the left realists believe that most working class crime is committed against the working class. This means that it’s not because of laws that the working class are going out to commit crimes. This means that more working class people are going to get into fights with one another over conflict of interests. This analysis shows that Marxism isn’t useful as it can be showed that crime is about conflicts of interests.

Another way that Marxism isn’t useful is that functionalists believe that the reason for crime is that it’s inevitable. Durkeim (1893) believed that crime and deviance were the product of a lack of attachment to the prevailing consensus over collective values. It is impossible for everyone to have the same values. As people’s actions are