chapter  14
10 Pages

Crimes of the powerful

An agenda for a twenty-first-century criminology 1
WithDawn L. Rothe, David O. Friedrichs

We suggest that the term “crimes of the powerful” extends beyond those crimes generally considered under the umbrella term of white-collar crime. Moreover, students and scholars of crimes of the powerful would be remiss in assuming these harms occur within a vacuum devoid of the broader social, political, economic, and power structures. On the other hand, to assume it is all about capitalism, the political economy or neo-liberalism misses the historical legacy and pattern of crimes of the powerful pre-capitalism and in former non-capitalistic systems. Rather, there is symbiosis between the various types of harms/crimes, the perpetrators, and the structures/systems, where one perpetuates the other in a cyclical fashion. The driving forces behind crimes of the powerful are reproduced and reinforced by the powerful, thus reproducing the conditions that facilitate and legitimate these behaviours, which wax and wane throughout time. As such, we firmly believe it is necessary for a vigorous and expansive critical criminological enterprise of study of the crimes of the powerful for a twenty-first-century criminology.