White-Collar Crime

August 25, 2011

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.

To subscribe to “iLook China”, look for the “Subscribe” button at the top of the screen in the menu bar, click on it then follow directions