Using material from item A and elsewhere, assess different Marxist views of the relationship between crime and social class. (21)
The traditional Marxists believe that the main cause of crime is the capitalist society. They believe that crime is inevitable because capitalism is criminogenic, by it’s very nature it causes crime. David Gordon argues that crime is a rational response to the capitalist system and hence it is found in all social classes, even thought the statistics make it seem to be a largely working class phenomenon,. Poverty may mean that crime is the only way that the working class can survive, as crime may e the only way that they can obtain the consumer goods encouraged by the capitalist advertising, resulting in utilitarian crimes such as theft.
However, it isn’t always utilitarian crime that the working class commit as sometimes the alienation and lack of control over their lives may lead to frustration and aggression which results in non-utilitarian crimes such as vandalism and violence.
Marxist’s sometimes argue the state and law-making are a cause of crime because they believe that all laws serve the ruling class, most law is based on protecting private property. The crimes of the working class and ethnic minorities are punished harshly while crimes of the powerful go unnoticed. The ruling class also have the power to prevent the introduction of laws that would threaten their interests. Thus, for example, there are few laws that seriously challenge the unequal distribution of wealth.
Laureen Snider argues that the capitalist state is reluctant to pass laws that regulate the activities of businesses or threaten their profitability which is why the crime statistics show the working class to be the largest perpetrators of crime.
Selective enforcement is another Marxist view on crime and social class. Jeffrey Reiman said that the more likely a crime is to be committed by higher class people,...