The Corporate Criminal – Why Corporations Must Be Abolished (Steve Tombs & David Whyte)

The Corporate Criminal

An extraordinary book. Issued under the “key ideas in criminology series” & inscribed as Business Studies/Criminology/Governance it provides one of the most detailed, definitive & damning disclosures & investigations on the somewhat silent mega crisis of abject corporate & political criminality/corruption reigning rampant from the First World. One would expect both writers to have a weekly column in a publication such as the Guardian considering the vital & brilliant research & analysis they render on this emergency subject. Unfortunately, due to the captive interests & as an extension of the very corruption being examined herein, both Steve Tombs (Professor of Criminology at Open University) & David Whyte (Professor of Socio-legal studies at the University of Liverpool) are nowhere near as ubiquitous or referenced as they so obviously ought to be. Having also read David’s astonishing “How Corrupt Is Britain” I can proclaim that The Corporate Criminal penetrates even deeper into the crux of this heinous beyond description criminal empire & very importantly addresses & explains the legal framework that technically-exculpates & redefines the criminality through an aberrant channel of exception & indemnity under what is known as “corporate law”, a separate (& exceedingly lenient/pusillanimous if not defective) legal framework entirely. This includes many definitions & manoeuvres buried in the distinctly-deviant legislation & uniquely favourable clauses & exemptions such as “limited liability”, mens rea & perhaps most egregious of all “corporate personhood/incorporation”. Ultimately, all these measures result in one outcome – almost total invulnerability & distance for the physical individuals that exist within these commercial creations. The terminology, laws & even perception & acknowledgement of these deeply heinous entities are also decoded. So much of the criminality & mega corruption that flourishes hides in plain sight, not necessarily registering cognitively for many who have been dysdoctrinated, anaesthetized or miseducated as to what defines corruption. The corporate & financial sector has been a cesspit of such depravity for decades (if not more), but it has accelerated to alarming ultra-extremes through years of deregulation, legislative dismantling, revolving door degradation & relentless private sector lobbying (“legitimate/legal”- bribery is a better definition) besiegement. It’s now exploding completely out of control under unparalleled Tory annihilation unveiling chronic plutocracy in it’s path of destruction. The book is sequenced in six chapters – Introducing the corporate criminal; Crime, harm & the corporation; Constructing the corporation; The corporation as structured irresponsibly; Controlling the corporation? & finally in the sixth segment Conclusion: what is to be done about the corporate criminal?. As a reference, the book is staggering with barely a word wasted. Which is the greater offender? Corruption? blasé institutionalized criminality? political immunity? or the harsh & exceptionally deleterious core-conduct/reality of corporations & their effects & actions that exists largely concealed from public awareness (extent wise at least)? Governments & conglomerates influence, abet, conspire, spur & protect each other & have become inseparable like liquid sewage, but as the book confirms & reiterates – corporate law is like a suit of armour, force-field or an external barrier devised specifically to render the abusers immune & divorced from their crimes & the crimes results (referred to in corporate speech as “externalities” much like “collateral damage”).

I would say that this is one of the best & most essential documents on this horrific trade from two major panjandrums in the field. It’s never been more urgent as things putrefy under the glare of Tory ruination. Indispensable.

I close with the following extract –

“Indeed, it is at least possible to argue that evidence of such offending and harm production is so prevalent that it is almost normalised – at time generating popular anger but at the same time perhaps anxiety or even political and social apathy. On the latter, the routine and seemingly endless production of harms may inure people to their perniciousness, as the population becomes anaesthetised to such harm, seeing, but not seeing, which is the most pernicious effect of them all.

What is there to be surprised about anymore about the corporate world? About the state? And – in the absence of alternatives to either, nor mechanisms for achieving these in any case, certainly not in the formal political sphere – is it not a reasonable response simply to slide into apathy, alienation and atomization? ”

Authors : Steve Tombs/David Whyte

Publisher: Routledge (2015)

In relation to corporate crime & the true construct/action/affliction of the corporation, it’s worth mentioning the seminal documentary The Corporation which remains one of the greatest exposes on these malign institutions so far. –


check also by David Whyte a full Bleg review of How Corrupt Is Britain –

How Corrupt Is Britain? – Edited by David Whyte

& an online presentation video with David Whyte on How Corrupt Is Britain here..