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Encyclopedia of Social Problems

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Encyclopedia of Social Problems

Vincent N. Parrillo

Pub. date: 2008 | Online Pub. Date: May 28, 2008 | DOI:http://dx.doi.org/10.4135/9781412963930 | Print ISBN: 9781412941655 | Online ISBN: 9781412963930 | Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.

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Corporate Crime

M. David Ermann

Corporate crimes include secretly dumping hazardous waste, illegally agreeing to fix prices, and knowingly selling unacceptably dangerous products. These offenses, like other corporate crimes, are deviant outcomes of actions by people working in usually nonde-viant corporations. Identifying true rates of corporate crime is problematic because victims and their victimization are difficult to establish. Toxic dumping, for instance, does not leave maimed or dead bodies at dump sites, and victims of price fixing seldom know they were illegally overcharged. Knowingly selling hazardous pharmaceuticals is particularly difficult to determine because often the harms are insidious—they kill only a tiny fraction of consumers, and harms do not appear until decades after exposure. Motives for such crimes are equally difficult to predict or identify. Thus, some ordinary employees of one ordinary corporation, Goodrich, on multiple occasions knowingly produced and sold faulty aircraft brakes, although nothing in their biographies would have led observers to predict ...

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