Sociological Theories Of White Collar Crime

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There are many theories and sub-theories on why white-collar crime occurs, just as there are many theories and sub-theories on why street crime occurs. However, as with any theory dealing with sociology, there are faults as human nature is hard to define generally. One of these failings, as explained by Benson and Moore in Reading 20, is addressed with Gottfredson and Hirschi’s general theory of crime (also known as self-control theory) which, surprisingly, completely ignores sociological factors in white collar crime and instead argues that white collar crime is solely founded on greed. As a result, this removes the concept of societal and/or personal pressure to commit white-collar crimes from the equation which fundamentally weakens it. This is opposed to strain theory which argues that social and personal strain “force the hand” of individuals and cause them to commit crimes. However, the weakness of this theory in regards to white-collar crime is the question of why those who've already gained financial success wish to seek more of it through illegitimate ways, particularly if they earned their initial success in a legal manner. Another theory is that of learning theory which suggests that criminal behavior and, therefore, white-collar crime is learned through those who legitimize these acts. However, our society as a whole has traditionally condemned the concept of illegal acts, including white-collar crime. Why and, more importantly, how does the voice of a few
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