Crimes of the powerful refer to a variety of illegal or destructive behaviors committed by powerful people. They can be carried out by whole organizations, corporate elites, state entities, and representatives. Some critical criminologists include domestic violence, which may be based on patriarchal ideological beliefs, and hate crimes, which may be based on homophobic or racist ideological assumptions, under the wide category of offenses of the powerful. A white-collar crime is any criminal offense committed by an individual of comparatively high status or someone with high levels of trust, which is made feasible by their lawful work. Corporate crimes are criminal offenses or omissions that occur as a consequence of purposeful decision-making or culpable carelessness inside a legally formal organization. Financial crimes, consumer fraud, crimes involving work ties, and environmental crimes are examples. Crimes of the powerful are much more destructive than usual ones and affect many aspects of society.
States and governments engage in many forms of crime to advance several internal and foreign goals. State-sanctioned crime may be divided into four types. The first category includes corruption, intimidation, and censorship are examples of political crime. The second one encompasses war-making, genocide, torture, ethnic cleansing, and terrorism, which are all crimes linked to police and security agencies. The third category is defined by monopolization techniques, health and safety infractions, and unlawful partnership with international businesses, which are all examples of crimes related to economic operations. And the last category consists of material immiseration of portions of society, institutional racism, and cultural vandalism that can be defined as examples of crime at the cultural and sociological levels.
In the life cycle of members of the family, crimes of the powerful include forms of mental or physical aggression. Physical abuse or neglect of children, spouse domestic violence, and elder abuse are all examples. Although family violence differs from other forms of crimes of the powerful in certain respects, it is included because it necessitates an investigation of how social structure and tradition may conceal or legitimize substantial harm to human and societal life. Hate crime is defined as a criminal act motivated by hatred, bigotry, or prejudice directed towards a person or property depending on the victim’s real or perceived race, nationality, religion, gender, or sexual orientation. This is one of the considerable issues among the crimes of the powerful.
The financial repercussions of these crimes are tremendous. Expenses are commonly viewed as only financial costs. Nevertheless, the consequences connected with serious crimes are not confined to direct or indirect economic costs. Substantial social, cultural, political, ecological, physical, and emotional expenses cannot be given a random price tag or a specific financial value. Deception, fraud, price rigging, bribery, kickbacks, and other breaches of trust jeopardize the ideals of honesty and fairness. They produce a moral atmosphere in which illegality is tolerated with minimal outrage, especially when the victims are the general public, consumers, corporations, as well as the government, and happens mainly without any feeling of guilt on the side of the perpetrators (Bittle et al., 2018). As a result, political and economic institutions deteriorate. For all socioeconomic strata, seeking number one, manipulating the system, obtaining something for nothing, and doing a service for a price have become normal and expected habits. Street criminals may readily excuse their own crimes when theft and dishonesty among corporate and government elites are widespread and unpunished.
It is necessary to mention that the dangers and consequences of being a victim of crimes of the powerful are not shared equally, as they are with other types of crime. Environmental crimes and frauds disproportionately affect the young, the poor, and the old. As the population ages, it can be expected to see more older individuals victimized, not just by fast-talking salespeople but also by organizational marketers. These prey on their fear of change, vulnerability to disease, concern of inadequate insurance, and loneliness.
When it comes to people’s overall well-being and safety, there is no question that the hazards posed by powerful crimes are significantly larger than those caused by traditional crimes. This isn’t meant to downplay the hazards of violence, rape, and robbery; rather, it’s meant to put the two major categories of crime in context. Because the threats presented by crimes against the powerful are typically less obvious, less immediate, and appear less real than those posed by street crimes, it is easier to dismiss them. Individuals or groups in roles of significant influence are also known to commit them. Because of the physical risks involved with environmental contamination in the water, air, soil, workplace, and home, these crimes are widespread.
In conclusion, crimes committed by the strong encompass a wide variety of acts and consequences, ranging from economic to physical and psychological. Traditional street crimes like robbery, burglary, and theft are rapidly outstripped by the costs of elite crime. Although, the crimes of the powerful are much more expensive to society in terms of the areas affected. Such crimes also affect sociological, political, business, and many other areas of society. Some crimes are done for personal benefit, while others are motivated by government or corporate interests, which are not always the same.
Bittle, S. et al. (2018) Revisiting Crimes of the Powerful: Marxism, Crime and Deviance. Oxfordshire: Taylor & Francis.