Edited by Barry Rider
The economic and socio-political developments of this century’s first decade have turned the crimes of the powerful (CoP) into a major focus of criminological research, legal practice and societal debate. By definition, the actual offences, summarily called the “crimes of the powerful”, encompass a range of criminal or harmful activities (primarily, but not exclusively, in the economic sphere) perpetrated by the individuals, businesses and other organizations that exercise significant influence, power or authority in a given society/state. The basic idea behind the isolation of the CoP as a separate category within the general body of economic crime is based on the assumption by some strands of criminological sciencethat the CoP reflect the unequal stance of different groups in the society vis-à-vis the law and justice. Since in the real world laws and regulations are structured and then implemented under the influence and, as a rule, in the interests of powerful social groups, the privileged elements of the society are believed to be better positioned to fulfil the dispositions of those norms. In cases where they nevertheless violate the latter, thanks to their professional qualities or social position they are less prone to being discovered and are relatively better protected in litigation. Quite often, they may even escape justice. Those assumptions, though sounding arguable, on the whole are confirmed by comparative statistics on investigations and convictions respectively for the “white-” and “blue-collar” crimes practically in any country.
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