White-Collar Crime

White-collar crime,” is a phrase first used by a distinguished criminologist in the late 1930s to describe activates of the rich and powerful.  Edwin Sutherland defined “while-collar” crime as a crime committed by a person of respectability and high social status in the course of his occupation.” Source: Connecticut Public Record Search

In addition, the FBI says, “White-collar crime … is now synonymous with the full range of frauds committed by business and government professionals.”

However, when the same sort of crime takes place in China, the Western media calls it “corruption” and the term “white-collar” is seldom if ever used.

If you read this blog regularly, you may remember that I recently wrote about this topic in The Danger of False Truths. A friend said, “the degree of corruption in China is simply breathtaking,” which was his knee-jerk reaction after reading about thousands of corrupt Chinese officials stealing more than $120 billion dollars from state-owned enterprises over a period of about 15 years.

To clarify a point, before the 1980s, the government in China owned all the factories.

Then China opened its doors to capitalism, and state-owned factories were told to either become profitable or go out of business and many did close their doors.

In China, convicted white-collar criminals go to jail for a long time or are executed. Watch this video to see what happens to most white-collar criminals in the US.

Today, the surviving state-owned factories are managed as if they are private sector businesses and the managers usually do not hold political posts in the government.  If these managers skimmed money from the profits of these government-owned businesses, that crime was no different from “white-collar” crimes in America.

Usually, when I read or hear a criticism of China, I research the country where the criticism originated, which is mostly from the US.

What I learned about white-collar corruption in the United States may shock you.

Security expert Troy Williams says that as many as 30 percent of the average company’s employees do steal, and another 60 percent will steal if given a motive and opportunity. Some estimates indicate that more than $600 billion is stolen annually (in the US), or, roughly $4,500 per employee. According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, about a third of all business failures each year trace back to employee theft and other employee crime.

The FBI says employee theft is “the fastest growing crime in America”, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce estimates that 75% of all employees steal from their workplace and that most do it on a regular basis. Furthermore, the American Society of Employers estimates that 20% of every dollar earned by a U.S. company is subsequently lost to employee theft.

However, when the theft of a $120 billion in China over a period of fifteen years elicits “the degree of corruption in China is simply breathtaking“, what describes the degree of corruption in the United States after learning that over the same period of time white-collar corruption in the US adds up to $9 trillion dollars or 75 times what was reported stolen in China?

Discover The Facts about Gambling and Drug Use in China


Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too.

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10 Responses to White-Collar Crime

  1. […] make up 76.8 percent of the population and according to a comment left for another post, the Chinese mostly vote for the PAP keeping Lee Kuan Yew’s party in […]

  2. Alexavier says:

    The purchases I make are entirely based on these articles.

  3. Terry K Chen says:

    Your theory is interesting and it is very possible that China adopts such a system sometime in the next 20-30 years, though I’m not sure if it would be better than the current system where the leaders are picked by meritocracy.

    I happen to live in Singapore. Yes, the situation here is exactly like how you said. The dominant party is the People’s actions party(PAP) and it has always had at least 60% of the votes. One of the reasons why they have been picked every time is because they have done a good job overall. However, another reason why they’re always elected is because the represent the chinese ethnicity here. About 70% of Singaporeans(I’m not one) are of Chinese ethnicity and they would never consider voting for an indian, malay, or any other race. The elections here are a joke because everyone already knows who is going to win.

    However, in Taiwan it is not the case. Kuomingtang(KMT) and Minjintang(MJT) are the two main parties. The KMT is pro-China and Minjintang are anti-China. In general, taiwanese in favor of China vote for the KMT and the rest vote for the MJT.

    I’ve never been to South Korea before nor have I followed their politics so I’m not very sure of how the system works there, but I hope my information can be of some use to you.

  4. Terry K Chen says:

    I agree that China may become a democratic nation in the next 20 or 30 years. I’m not sure if that would be good for the nation but it could very well happen.

    If China transitioned into a multi-party democracy, then the western media would focus on the differences between China’s democratic system and that of western nations and complain that China has a “fake democracy” (I believe that’s what they’re saying about Russia now).

    They will never be satisfied as all they want is to see China poor and weak again. If China does become poor and weak again, then they will pretend to feel sorry for the Chinese.

    Freedom of speech is not necessarily a good thing. I’m not going to comment whether its a good or bad thing but its extremely possible that Chinese will have the same ‘freedoms’ as westerners have in the next few decades. Raising the living standards and having a strong military that can protect the country is infinitely more important than having freedom of speech or the freedom to protest. Introducing freedom of speech into China’s current system will only inhibit the progress and give Western nations another chance to split up and weaken the country. All the progress that China has enjoyed in the past 3 decades or so would be wasted. Only after China has reached its maximum potential in terms of economical and military progress should the CCP (or any other party that is leading China) consider letting Chinese have the same amount of freedom of speech as westerners currently have.

    • Terry,

      Correct me if you discover I am wrong here, but Singapore, Taiwan and South Korea are examples of what happens when Asian countries that are collective cultures become multi-party parliamentary democracies. The original party that ruled before those countries became multi-party has held the majority of seats in their parliaments most of the time, which means in a parliamentary system, the majority party decides who will be president or premier.

      All the majority party has to do in a collective culture’s parliamentary system is to keep delivering the votes to stay in power and to do that the Party only has to make sure that the majority of people are prospering under the Party’s political management making it more difficult for special interest groups such as neoconservatives and evangelical Christians (that control large voting blocs) to gain political power and keep it.

      In a Parliamentary system, if the appointed president or premier loses the majority, he has to leave and another election is held in the parliament to appoint another leader and that country is not stuck with the same man for four or eight years, which means when a country gets a poor leader, he goes quickly.

      People living in a collective culture mostly keep voting the original, majority party into office election after election.

      I’m not sure if Japan’s multi-party system has worked that way or not. I have not researched the political history of Japan. Do you know if one political Party in Japan has dominated most elections?

      I read last year that if China were to become a multi-party parliamentary democracy today, more than 75% of the people would vote for Communist Party representatives, which means the national leader would be from the Communist Party.

      After all, there may be a minority in China that is unhappy with the Chinese Communist Party but the vast majority of people in China has prospered under the Party and would vote to keep things going the way they have been.

      From what I understand, the Constitutional form of democracy in the US is unique and no other country in the world has the exact same democratic system. The parliamentary multi-party democratic system seems to predominate in the world. I read that every country that attempted to copy the US political system has collapsed into anarchy and returned to military dictatorships due to the economic chaos caused by the US model of a multi-party political system where the president is elected independent of the two houses of congress instead of being appointed by the majority party leading to too much influence from lobbyists.

      For example, in England, the House of Lords is appointed and the people elect the representatives for the House of Commons.

      The original US political system created by the Founding Fathers was similar. Members of the Senate were once appointed by the legislature or governor or each state while the House of Representatives was elected by a popular vote in each state. Then that system was changed so the voters elected everyone to both houses of Congress.

      If China was to adopt something similar, but in a parliamentary system, the two houses of congress would not be the same as the United States but closer to England’s system.

      The representatives of one House would be elected by the people in a national, popular vote similar to how the US does it with the country divided into equal voting districts so each district has the same number of people voting for their representatives.

      The other House of Congress could be appointed by the governor or house of representatives of each province and the governor and the congress of each province would be elected by the people in a popular vote in each province, which would have two Houses of Congress—one elected by a popular vote and the other appointed by the elected town councils of each village or city.

      Do you see where I am going here? History has pointed out that political system similar to the US have a poor record of surviving while parliamentary systems stand a better chance and help avoid the kind of divisiveness and political grid lock we see in the United States.

      In case China’s appointed senate or elected house of representatives in this future, potential multi-party parliamentary system become the polar opposite politically of the President of the country and the other House of Congress creating a form of gridlock, there could be a rule of law that says if the President and two-thirds of one house votes to overrule the other house, they may pass legislation anyway without approval from one of the representative houses of congress.

      I’m sure by studying all the flaws in multi-party systems that may lead to gridlock and the kind of current situation in the US, China could create a system that stands a much better chance of avoiding that sort of chaos in the political system and still allow the people a vote and a voice to be heard during provincial and national elections.

  5. Terry K Chen says:

    Western media has to find something bad about China. Even if China didn’t have corrupt officials and tibet didn’t exist, they would always find other things to demonize and exaggerate.

    • Terry,
      I was thinking about that this morning. What would the Western media complain about if China transitioned into a multi-party democracy, which may happen in the next twenty to thirty years as China achieves most of its goals to modernize and improve the lifestyles of the Chinese people?

      The Party has already improved life expectancy from age 35 (in 1949) to age 70 or better, increased literacy from 20% to more than 90% and reduced poverty more than any nation on the earth. In fact, China is responsible for 90% of global poverty reduction the last thirty years.

      I’ve read about an ongoing debate among the 70 million members of the Chinese Communist Party on this topic of becoming a multi-party democracy similar to a parliamentary democracy such as England or Germany. Since China’s Communist Party rules by consensus and the majority is against it, it isn’t going to happen soon regardless of Western criticism.
      However, because of the economic and trade alliance of the BRICS nations (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) and an additional desire among these nations to join in a united front to block American pressure for political and religious change, we may not see this at all in our lifetimes.

      As the BRICS become more economically powerful on the global stage and the United States loses power in this area, politician and religious pressure from the US will become only nonsense (like a fly or a mosquito) to ignore.

      Then if political or religious change takes place in China or any of the BRICS nations, it will be up to the people of those countries to make it happen, not pressure from America.

  6. Merlin says:

    Just landed in LAX. White collar crime is when you get back in the US…only to find that you gotta pay 10 bucks for an hour of net in the airport. You spend a dollar for 4 minute phone call home to find out where to go for a hotel only to have the line die. You rush around asking for quarters (shit gotta do math now with all the coins), and the 1 place can exchange a buck for quarters is the currency exchange counter who glares at me and says she cant give out quarters to everyone.


    • Merlin,

      Yes, in the United States, it costs money to stay off the streets and avoid becoming a homeless person unless a friend or relative is willing to take you in and feed you.

      However, in China, it is possible to live with family in rural China (in addition to urban China) and as long as there is enough food, few go hungry and most people have homes/shelter even if they don’t equal the luxury of the middle class lifestyle of America.

      In most of rural China, it is difficult to lose your home unless the land it sits on is needed for modernization and development (then usually another home or a purchase price is offered), but in the US, if you cannot pay your property tax (and possibly income tax), the government/IRS will take your home and sell it at auction and throw you out on the street where you may become homeless.

      Also, in the US, the government may take a person’s home (but must pay a fair price) under a law that allows the government to do so if it benefits the public such as a new freeway or park and it is almost impossible to stop this from happening.

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