Posts Tagged ‘white collar criminals’

On poverty and crime

May 24, 2010

I wish I had written this. An old link but still worth reading.

The canard that “poverty causes crime” is the¬† product of lazy correlation. We associate crime with poverty¬† because criminals are so often poor. However, the association is an inversion – people don’t become drug-addicted thieves because they’re poor – they’re poor because they’re drug-addicted thieves.

If poverty were a root cause of crime, the six-figure executive wouldn’t embezzle, the limo-driven politician wouldn’t defraud. There’d be an income threshold at which crime was no longer “necessary” for survival. Poverty and ruin are simply possible consequences when high-risk, high-return windfall economics trump morality, honesty and the work ethic.

What the white-collar criminal and inner-city gang member have in common is something quite different, and it’s unrelated to birthright or economic misfortune.

What they share is a sense of entitlement. They have convinced themselves (through varying measures of rationalization and socialization) that they are entitled to our money, our property, our lives.