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The Conflict Theory: Crucial Aspects

Conflict theorists note that social and economic forces operating in society encourage individuals to engage in crime. The theory claims that the criminal justice system in society sets moral standards that cannot be attained by the poor. Therefore, poor individuals are accused of engaging in criminal activities because they lack the means of defending themselves. Members of the ruling class set rules that are implemented by the criminal justice system arbitrarily. The rules are oppressive to the poor. It is not surprising that street criminals are punished heavily while white-collar criminals are not even arrested. In modern society, government officials are accused of engaging in corruption, fraud, money laundering, and drug trafficking yet no action is taken against them. Dominant groups in society use their financial capabilities to buy freedom. Therefore, the dominant class uses the law to maintain its supremacy. The principles of capitalism such as selfishness, rivalry, and consumerism create a society that does not treat people equally. Therefore, those treated badly resort to crime as a technique of acquiring basic needs.

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In an interview with a middle-aged man, it was noted that poverty is the main cause of crime, especially in urban areas. Jeff is aged twenty-seven years. His main occupation is driving. He belongs to the subordinate class. His religion is Islam. Jeff was interviewed in one of the famous hotels in town at midnight. Jeff was selected for interviewing after conducting some investigations on his behavior. It was noted that he always visited the place yet his living standards could not allow him to buy products from such a hotel. It was concluded that Jeff was after something since food alone could not take him to such an expensive place. Through surveillance, it was noted that Jeff had a hidden agenda. In the hotel, individuals from the subordinate class are not allowed to enter. Entry is restricted to those with financial capabilities. Therefore, Jeff had to dress in a manner suggesting that he belongs to the ruling class. However, he only took cheap drinks. This encouraged the researcher to investigate his moves.

From the tenets of conflict theory, it is true that poverty and discrimination force an individual to engage in criminal behaviors. Jeff engaged in crime because he had no stable source of income. He had an extended family to take care of. Therefore, he needed a stable source of income. Jeff admitted that he was a drug peddler. However, his role was to distribute drugs delivered to him by a certain drug lord. Apart from distributing drugs, he also engaged in kidnapping. Nobody could suspect him since he had a very nice car belonging to his boss. It is true that poverty is correlated to crime. Jeff was forced to engage in crime in order to provide the basic needs to his family.

In conclusion, conflict theory can be applied in understanding the criminal behavior of an individual. The poor individuals in society are pushed to steal because the owners of the means of production will never allow them to own substantial assets. The major aim of the owners of the means of production is to maintain the status quo. Therefore, the poor individuals engage in poverty to obtain the basic needs.

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