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Both non criminal and criminal elites cause great harm to people. Elite deviance violates the ethical, moral as well as the legal standards for benefits of government and corporate entity. Sociologists argue that elite deviance is usually committed by high ranks of power and causes financial, physical and moral harm.
While we do hear people who are in power ripping off its public and even wiping them financially, elite deviance can tend to be extremely hazardous to the public. In the sociological imagination theory, Mills affirm that one ought to look deep inside oneself in order to help in crucial research problems and so that the social scientists can be able to translate some of the private problems into public issues. This translation hence means that we be in a position to connect the issues we face in our biography to the social institutions.
The sociological imagination theory clearly states that it is usually quite difficult for most of the people in the society to link some of their personal issues to the cultural institutions that they live in. Sociological imagination offers that one possesses the aptitude to look beyond personality and local environment to a wide social structures as well as a relationship between social structure, biography and history. Sociological imagination does refer to some of the personal issues becoming social and public problems. This generally means that the problems of the people can never be accounted on just the personal level. Without sociological imagination, people usually end up getting trapped in their familiar worlds and are usually incapable of comprehending the structural and social dimensions of their predicaments.
Social imagination can also be applied in incidents that have reported high rate of crime for example in the scandal of VECO Corporation. Sociological imagination theory in relation to elite crime broadens our understanding on the growing decline of morals and ethics in the leading companies, government agencies as well as the justice system. Social imagination theory does not just focus on the dysfunctional individuals or families but rather the society at large including the elite people.
VECO Corporation in relation to social imagination theory is rational and quite practical on the grounds that the top officials of the company ended up committing elite crimes. The corporation got involved in various elite crimes that comprised of offering bribes to the wall street journal as well as unlawful allocation of money and violation of legal and ethical norms. In discussing the reasons that might have led to these top officials committing crimes, we can use the theory of sociological imagination by Mills. Elite crime is quite serious, costly and lightly punished in the American society (David. 2006). Deviance by the elites does create measurable distrust in the political and economic system which does manifest itself in divergent ways.
Sociology does offer a unique and a peculiar way in explaining what usually happens in the human life and a major distinctive approach into solving some of the human dilemmas. According to Mills, each individual can clearly comprehend their experience as well as gauge their fate by locating themselves within their period. They only become totally aware of life through being aware of circumstances around them. Using the sociological imagination hence means making of rational comparisons of all human experience across time and societies. In discussing the crime that occurred at VECO it is therefore imperative to consider the institution at large, its norms, interactions as well as the policies of the Corporation. The sociological imagination theory as well as the theory of elite deviance relates well with the case study as VECO Corporation was involved in several elite crimes. Sarah Palin was alleged to have been receiving contributions for her major campaigns from the corporation.
She received funds from the senior personnel of VECO Corporation to which the chief executive officer at VECO Corporation agreed to (Benet, 2009). Another crime that the corporation committed was giving of bribes to the Wall Street journal where its representative Don Young was under investigations for having accepted unlawful presents and gratuities. Ted who was also an official in the corporation was also involved in unlawful allocation of funds and accepted all the offenses. The top officials of the company were accused of bribing as well as extortion and hence sentenced to fifteen years in jail.
Sociological imagination in this scenario helps us to see beyond the main qualities which we attribute to the individuals when the society provides just little respite. We need to look beyond these individuals as the main cause and examine their social context which could have led to the crimes that they did. The social issues around the corporation and the trust entrusted to them by the public can be the main cause that led to the crimes they committed. According to the theory, the officials sentenced ought not to be seen generally as criminals but as people who were influenced by their environs. There are various reasons that could have triggered them to commit the crime for example hunger for power, seeking of recognition, greed, opportunity, lack of moral character and judgment, ignorance and others as they sought to please the public and also because they did not see the main benefits of just adhering to some of the conventional social issues and values. This is a corporation that had a good history which used to deal with oil pipelines and supported the oil industry as well as performing tremendously in the global oil market.
They conserved the environment to show their social responsibility and it is only logical that with such responsibilities there would be misappropriation of funds by the seniors. It is also logical that in trying to create more attention it decided to offer funds to Sarah Palin to run her campaigns and eventually made huge mistakes which it did not target for. Their acts can also be as a result of feelings of powerlessness as they already knew that they occupied positions in which they have been trained in and hence they are interchangeable and replaceable.
This always makes people feel dehumanized since they have no much authority and freedom. Generally this hence could have been as a result of denial of responsibility and victimization as well as greed of higher loyalties. In most instances the organization does influence the workers to commit the deviant acts (David. 2006, pp. 289). Such motivations are usually as a result of alienation which hence makes them to take a cynical approach towards their work.
Conservative measures of crime control for example capital punishment, incarcerations as well as boot camps have done little to eradicate elite crimes. There is therefore a need to radically rethink on the justice system . Social control initiatives and strategies are crucial and quite effective in achieving social justice as well as curbing crime. Braithwaite’s theory (David. 2006, pp. 281) of reintegrative shaming is one of the progressive initiatives that are proposed in order to deal with such elite crimes like the one that happened at VECO.
Such initiatives have the potential of alleviating suffering and pain that is caused by crime. Braithwaite’s treatment of justice, law and crime has a bracing freshness. Braithwaite affirms that elite deviance is usually explained through examining on the role of the actors in an organization which hence shapes their acts (David. 2006).
One of the strategies that could have been used on the officials is shaming them in order to eradicate future occurrences. Reintegrative shaming strengthens the moral bond between offenders and the community in which they come from. Braithwaite suggested two reintegrative processes namely reintegrative shaming and stigmatic shaming. The stigmatic tie would have ruined the ties between the society and the offenders and reintegrative shaming would have brought the offenders back to the society as one of the law abiding citizens. This is a theory that is relevant in this case study as it works as a remedy to curbing cases of crime.
There are various elements that have not been discussed in relation to these theories. The theories have not recommended what should be done in order to prevent or curb the onset of these crimes. They have mostly focused on the definition. The sociological imagination theory for example has focused on definitions and how underprivileged people commit crimes but fails to tell us at length on why elite people might also decide to commit the crimes.
Elite crimes consist of acts that are committed by people and members of the upper classes who do include governmental organizations as well as those who do head the corporate world. Elite crimes are usually committed for a number of reasons. They are usually done for fostering of power, personal gain, profitability or even influence from the organization. They are massively financially harmful to organization as well as individuals. Elite crime is not just prevalent in the corporate world but also civil liberties, Central Intelligence Agency and even the FBI’s. At the center stage was VECO Corporation, a corporation that dealt with oil pipelines, which portrayed the highest level of political corruption. Its leaders were accused of having had perpetrated massive corruption. The leaders pleaded guilty and were sentenced for 15 years in prison.
It is evident that VECO Corporation has been involved in various perceptible elite crimes. The top leaders faced serious corruption allegations. In order to carry out the entire research, books, videos as well as the internet sources have been used. It is patent from the case study what exactly elite crimes are all about and their effects on individuals as well as companies. Elite crimes have a great adverse effect on businesses and the economy at large. They consist of political corruption just like the one that happened at VECO Corporation. The leaders in the company lacked business ethics and did not use their powers as required and ended up being sentenced for fifteen years.
Leaders need to use the powers and positions entrusted to them in an effective and apparent way to avoid getting themselves as well as their companies in scandals. Effectual leaders ought to be responsible, open minded, involved with the entire community, be in control with finances and be respectful to the rules employed by the company as well as work on the trust that is entrusted to them in order to avoid disappointing the public.
There is a vast body of evidence on some of the factors that do place people at the risk of committing crimes. Most of the crime theories try to explain the main relationship between criminal behavior and the risk factors. Even in comprehending the extent and range of theoretical understandings as well as explanations of crime. Sociological imagination theory by Mills has discussed extensively on some of the areas that people need to focus on in analyzing crimes. Mills has extensively discussed some of the reasons that people engage in crimes and has made it clear that people ought to look beyond what they can see and focus on in depth information on why scandals do happen. Braithwaite’s theory has offered a remedy in dealing with criminals in order to reform them.
Both sociological imagination theory and Braithwaite’s theory are important in dealing with crime and criminals as they help us to have a deeper analysis of what crime are all about and some of the things that ought to be taken into consideration in evaluation of crimes and criminals. The theories also help us to come up with remedies that are crucial in dealing with future scandals like the one that happened in VECO. In order to prevent as well as curb elite crimes, there is a need to implement strong laws that will act as a lesson to the rest. There is also a need to put in immense policies that every employee will adhere to in order to avoid elite crimes. Finally there is a need to improve communication between the employers and employees in order to ascertain that the employees are motivated and there are no any loopholes to crime.