Self-Defense & Violence Prevention Blog

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Corporate Crime and Victimization

When we talk of crime and victimization, I think we often think of street crime, as in individual acts by individual persons, such as rape and assault. However, corporations perform the most major forms of criminal victimization.

Corporations have more social and political power than most people, but they do not have the humanity. For the most part, they only care about the bottom line. They love money, and they will do anything to get it. They would slice the throats of 5-year-old girls if it would make them money. For example, consider when Bayer knowingly sold drugs infected with AIDS.

Worse yet, corporations often get away with victimizing people. They often get to victimize people legally because they have the money to lobby and control the government. For example, consider all the money the military industries, oil industries, and private-owned prison industries have stolen from taxpayers by using some of their money to buy politicians. Or consider the corporations that steal people’s land via the government with eminent domain.

Though it is generally illegal for them to bribe politicians, corporations can legally control the government to legally victimize people with campaign contributions, lobbyists, and media control. Additionally, even when prosecuted, corporations have the highest paid lawyers. And corporate crime rarely results in criminal prosecution and jail time, but instead ends with a fine.

Also, let’s not forget that corporate crime often results in violence. For example, 56,000 Americans die every year on the job or from occupational diseases such as black lung; many of those cases arise from criminal recklessness. Other examples include the violence of contaminated foods, pollution, hazardous consumer products, and hospital malpractice.

As Robert Mokhiber pointed out in 2007, corporate crime inflicts far more damage on society than street crime.

I believe we can only effectively limit corporate control over us by limiting the power of government. Insofar as a government has power over the people, the big corporations will control and victimize us by controlling the government.

Whatever we do, we need to find a way to defend ourselves from corporations, not just from human citizens.

What do you think?

By | February 15th, 2008 | SHOW COMMENTS (8)

About

I am the creator of this website, which I use to post about self-defense and violence prevention. I have two children who I love so much. I want them to be proud of me, and I hope what I do here contributes to that. Please let me know what you think about my posts by leaving a comment below. I am totally open to opposing viewpoints and a productive discussion. Follow me on Twitter: @scottmhughes

8 Responses

  1. Scott says

    Thanks everyone for your replies!

    batuhankaban, thanks for your reply. That’s an interesting philosophy about maybe the “bads somethings being more helpful than the goods,” but I suppose we still have to be wary of the “bads.”

    lisa smith, you are right. I hope people stop being so silent about corporate crime.

    Andy, I agree with you about the solution being to stop feeding the power. I understand what you mean when say that the corporations want us to limit the government’s power because that would let them rape and pillage the world all the more. I am not suggesting we limit the governments–or anybody else’s–ability to stop rape and victimization. I am suggest we limit the governments ability to victimize people (e.g. eminent domain, taxation, etc.) because corporations control the government to use that power to victimize people.

    Pete, I agree that it will help further freedom (and anarchism) if we focus our criticism on the state. I was hoping this blog post would show that destructive corporations are empowered by the state and thus we need to focus on limiting the state’s power to offensively control people.

    Nick, I agree with you. I like that you brought up free-thought. At the risk of sounding cliché, knowledge is power, and a well-informed public will demand and receive freedom.

    Linda, voting and boycotts are two main ways to fight back against corporate crime. It’s very debatable which one is more effective, but I guess a person can do both.

    Cori Buracks, I may have failed to mention this and that, but that does not contradict what I did mention. Corporations do victimize people, of which I gave examples. Of course, I did not mean to say that all corporations victimize people. (In analogy, when I say men do rape women, I do not mean that all men rape women.) For example, I personally know of some small, non-profit corporations which I find commendable. You’re saying that the government victimizes us, which is essentially what I said in the blog. My main point was clearly that corporations victimize us via the government, and that I believe the solution is to limit the power of government. I thought that was a pretty clear reference to the benefit of free markets in that (in the absence of the victimization) businesses make their revenue by providing goods and services to people who want them. I think we agree a lot more than you realize. The blog post–which apparently wasn’t clearly written, and I thank you for telling me the flaws you saw in it–was meant to express my objection to acts of criminal victimization committed by corporations and to point out that corporations often legally victimize people by controlling governments (i.e. they get the government to do the dirty work).

    Thanks,
    Scott

  2. Cori Buraks says

    Scott, you’re way off on this one. Big corporations are the reason why America has the wealth that it does and the reason why everyone in America enjoys a better standard of living than people of other countries. No where in the Constitution is government granted the power to control corporate business practices. I agree, however, that corporations should not be receiving subsidies. Furthermore, it is absolutely reprehensible for any business to sell products that they know to be harmful without telling the consumer, but most corporations don’t follow such practices. Successful corporations exist, because they create goods and services that people want and need. What is so inherently evil about that? Don’t try to tell me that you are forced to buy their products. If you don’t support a particular corporation or industry, don’t patronize them. Furthermore, job related death is not violence. When people take on dangerous jobs, such as coal mining for example, they are fully informed of the dangers they will encounter. If you decide to take on such a dangerous job even after being informed of the risks, you have only yourself to blame when you get sick or injured. In additon, corporations steal nothing from us-the government does in the form of tax dollars. Corporations don’t steal land through eminent domain-the government does. The government, which cowers to the will of an uneducated and self-serving majority, has no right to control private businesses any more than they have the right to enter a private residence and start dictating how your household should be run.

  3. Linda says

    okay, corporate crime involves the state coz for eg u need two parties for there to be bribery. well , i guess there r two solutions to the problem – attack the state by voting in another govt tht u feel is compatible to yr viewpt(drawbacks – do govts ever rreally bring abt complete change – of all structures etc) OR attack the corporation via boycotts, protesting etc(drawbacks – who will tell us all tht corporations do? cn we hve a united force?) eh, ths is a tough one for me.

  4. Nick says

    well, this forum IS about corporate crime. Therefore, commenting on corporate crime in association to government makes sense and doesn’t ignore or shy away from an anarchist cause. i agree with Andy completely. nonviolence is the logical and most effective way to support and/or bring about anarchy. As tempting as it may seem, violence is NOT the answer when dealing with government powers. Although, directing criticisms toward government can’t do much more than change the minds of a few people. We need to make these ideas more public and seen in more places, or reach the minds of people somehow. Corporate crime is only a small action that displays the state’s misuse of power when compared to other things. The media is a big example, along with religion. Free thought is gone in this country (USA) and basically in every country in the world. It’s pathetic. If anyone agrees, please comment and tell me what you think

  5. pete says

    i don’t think any of this capitalism bashing does anything for the anarchist cause. none of the reasons sited in the above article are legit arguments for anarchism. they are just moral charges that could be levied agains any kind of non govt organisation. the thing is people have a choice to cooperate with coorporations(as consumers or employees) but we do not have a choice to be citizens of a state. we should direct our criticisms more against govt.

  6. Luciditee says

    I would say that limiting the power and interference of government is a corporation’s dream. This is the very thing that corporations want so that they can rape and pillage the world all the more.

    This is what all the ideas peddled about the supposed inevitability of ‘globalization’ are all about; propaganda to enable coporations to transcend government meddling, and to exist beyond accoutability.

    And, would limiting government stop people from directing their apparent wealth towards corporations? I’m not so sure.

    I’m certainly not pro-state, thats for sure, but I’m not so sure this is the way to go about bringing the downfall of corporations. Not on its own at least anyways.

    I’m convinced that the only way to overcome any form of power of both corporations and governments are by realizing there true nature, to see the terrible negative effects that they have on our lives and the world around us, and then to get as moany other people to see this too. Then we must turn away from them, and forge our own culture.. our own ways of doing an being. People need to see and believe that a greater freedom can exist, and is achievable.

    The problem is that people are caught in an illusion.. the facts are obfuscated and distorted, and this whole thing is peddled by these ‘powers that be’.

    We defer our autonomy to these groups. We buy there lies. They can only exist because we direct our lives and our energy towards them.. without this they could not exist. The true nature of power is dependence – it is conditional. Those in power are only there because we give it to them. The power that they use is our power.. but our perception is twisted to see this power as an iron fortress.

    All we need to do is to stop feeding that power and it will wither and die like a weed with no water or light. And so we need, somehow, to break this collective dream that everyone is caught up in.. slumbering between waking and dreaming. We must reclaim our own inherrent autonomy and freedom, and decide for ourselves to what productive ends we should direct it.

    This, for me, is how to bring down the corporation, and the state. And, it is also the way to initiate a revolution through non violence. This is not to say that conflict would not arise and that there would be no retaliation from those in power, but in my view, it is best to try to fight fire with water.

    Peace,

    Andy ;)

  7. lisa smtih says

    People are too silent and not on their government officials enough about corporate crime. It takes money from all of us.

  8. batuhankaban says

    .for the conclusion; yes i see a need of limiting the economic power of the state for sure. İn a bit east of yours the picture is absolute clear in that way with so many much examples in all possibile different cheating ways with different types of societies, colobrated inside, outside, inside-outside:), doesn’t matter, i stand differently than scott, for myself the most powerfull think that can limited the human is word, the right word and thinking,we all stay in the same mind, still we are in something that the ones that we don’t know is much more than the ones we know or not,we seems like we start to limit ourselfs morely because of understanding of the amount of the subjects that we have already effected or planing to effect. Economic understandings each day will proche the global needs and prosperity laws, growing continiously in its own logic is need to take news and left the old.
    phylosopy;crime cooperation has no different than doing-good cooperation, if we have somewhere to reach; To step up those problems, maybe the bads helps us more than goods..

    thanks,love.
    bbk

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