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Free «General Theory of Crime» Essay Sample

Michael Gottfredson and Travis Hirschi have appeared in a criminal justice to question an idea of career criminals. They have put a spirited challenge mostly during the life course and establishment of criminology theories. In their insightful work, A General Theory of Crime, Gottfredson and Hirschi stipulate that the degree to commit a crime is connected with an individual level of self-control. According to the authors, people with the low self-control cannot avoid temptations of the instant pleasure (Cullen & Agnew, 2003). Providing an account of classical criminal theories, Gottfredson and Hirschi illustrate that egocentric is motivating together with the degree to avoid the pain as the factors responsible for criminal activities. They have made a conclusion that the low self esteem which originates from an early childhood is a primary cause of criminal activities (Cullen & Agnew, 2003). In this regard, children’s behavior should be analyzed and monitored closely to ensure that a child is free from a low self-esteem. This book analyses a classical theory and an idea of crime. The author claims that criminologists normally lament that they do not control a variable that defines the crime. The book points out that the crime is defined and decided by a politically legal procedure instead of a scientific approach. Therefore, the modern definition of crime has embraced the issues of law. The crime is the human behavior which violates stipulated laws and regulations. Consequently, the book examines the current version of a classical meaning of crime in relation to the following Bentham general crime theory component. This means a physical  and religious sanction, a moral and political sanction.

The Relationship between Low Self-Control and Crime

Introduction

Michael Gottfredson and Travis Hirschi have appeared in a criminal justice to question an idea of career criminals. They have put a spirited challenge mostly during the life course and establishment of criminology theories. In their insightful work, A General Theory of Crime, Gottfredson and Hirschi stipulate that the degree to commit a crime is connected with an individual level of self-control. According to the authors, people with the low self-control cannot avoid temptations of the instant pleasure (Cullen & Agnew, 2003). Providing an account of classical criminal theories, Gottfredson and Hirschi illustrate that egocentric is motivating together with the degree to avoid the pain as the factors responsible for criminal activities. They have made a conclusion that the low self esteem which originates from an early childhood is a primary cause of criminal activities (Cullen & Agnew, 2003). In this regard, children’s behavior should be analyzed and monitored closely to ensure that a child is free from a low self-esteem.  This implies that the criminal behavior can be prevented right from the childhood.

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This book analyses a classical theory and an idea of crime. The author claims that criminologists normally lament that they do not control a variable that defines the crime. The pursuit of self-interest so as to avoid the pain in a bid to seek pleasure is the origin of crime. The book points out that a criminal activity is short lived, and it generate the pleasure to offenders. The book points out that the crime is defined and decided by a politically legal procedure instead of a scientific approach(Hirschi, & Gottfredson , 1990).

Therefore, the modern definition of crime has embraced the issues of law. The crime is the human behavior which violates stipulated laws and regulations. Consequently, the book examines the current version of a classical meaning of crime in relation to the following Bentham general crime theory component. This means a physical  and religious sanction, a moral and political sanction.

The investigation concerning the causes and reasons of the crime is of great interest to criminologists and psychologists. Since the beginning of  the1800s, various aspects of scientific schools have strived to answer to  the questions revolving around the reasons why people commit the crime. Criminology theories that have been widely discussed touch more the biological and psychological studies of crime. However, some reseaches have also looked into the issues of strain, a cultural deviance and the social control elements of crime. This paper takes a critical analysis of the low self-control link of the crime in the book A General Theory of Crime by Micahel R. Gottfredson and Trevis Hirschi.

One of the commonly known criminology theories of the recent times is Gottfredson’s and Hirschi’s low self-control theory. This low self-control theory stipulates that children grow for the levels of self-control at the ages of seven and eight. This becomes stable for the rest of their life. Similarly, children with a low degree of self-control are seen to be prone to indulge into the crime. According to the above mentioned theory, the low self-control in a child may be manifested in several ways. Individuals having the low self-control cannot delay the gratification, since they are more focused on the events happenning today. It is noted that Gottfredson’s and Hirschi’s theory of low self-control is not an absolute discovery, since many authors have come up with few similar inventions devoted to the crime.

Low Self-Esteem in Relation to Crime

The available studies attest to the fact  that Gottfredson and Hirschi argument that the low self-control has a direct link with the criminal or deviant behavior that is being true. However, there is a dramatic paradigm shift, which has seen some criminologists criticizing the validity of Gottfredson’s and Hirschi’s argument linking the low self-esteem to the crime. Their opponent explains that that the low self-control is one of the main causes of a degree of the crime. However, Gottfredson’s and Hirschi’s definition of self-control has no connection with this propensity. Their application of the term for the low and high self-control are pointed out as illustrating a differential degree to commit the crime. Gottfredson and Hirschi have failed to differentiate the low self-control and the degree to commit the crime. Thus, the degree of the crime and the low self-control is seen to be the ones being not a case. On the other hand, Gottfredson’s and Hirschi’s argument on the self esteem theory has been faulted to lack the indepth explanation causing a white-collar crime. According to Gottfredson and Hirschi, all criminals are compelled to commit crimes due to their low self-control and because of having the similar degree to indulge in the criminal activity. However, other studies show that the white collar criminal offenders do not commit these crimes frequently; and they have no low self esteem.

The authors state that various approaches link the crime to either an impact of the antecedent social state or a result of the rational calculation of the individual accepting the crime as the utility-maximizing career. I tend to agree with an argument which relates the crimewith the antecedent social disorder in the society. This is because the criminal activity is the social behaviour, which comes out as a result of the evidence lack to societal norms among the given section of people in the society. Therefore, I concur  to the fact that the initiatives that emphasize the improvement in a social status or an increase in penalties as a means to reduce the criminal activity is going to fail. However,an approach to the crime reduction which takes a paradigm shift towards the improvement in the economic analysis of crime is one of the best approaches to use in a crime reduction strategy.

Strength of the Book A General Theory of Crime by Micahel R. Gottfredson and Trevis Hirschi

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This book brings out an insightful analysis of crime and criminal activities. The book is written in a simple language, which makes it easy to be comprehendable to everybody. The authors have structured the book in the way that it enhances its readability. In this case, the book appeals to many readers. In addition, the book has been divided into the chapters, which not only make it easy to be read but also presents a logical flow of the discussion topic. The book is insightful in its analysis of concepts. For instance, a classical theory of crime has been vividly outlined in such a way that it is easy to connect the current situation with the past one. The external cover of the book is meticulously designed. This adds an aesthetic value to the book and makes it attractive to readers.

Weakness of the Book

Despite the fact that the authors have tried very hard to ensure that the book is good, there is a number of notable mistakes. To start with, the book has majorly analyzed Bentham’s crime theory. This brings a monotonous aspect of analysis and argument. There are several classical authors that have widely discussed the topic of crime. However, the book has remained silent about them. The authors have limited the discussion of topic which reduces the authenticity of work. The authors’ argument that the low individual self esteem is directly connected with the criminal activity has not universally agreed with the empirical justification.

What I Would Have Done

In this discussion of crime, I would analyze the topic described by different classical authors. For instance, Emile Durkeim’s contribution to the crime will be critical to the discussion of this book. This is because Emile Durkeim believed that crime was a normal happening; and it was impossible to have the society totally devoid of crime. This insightful information would have brought another perspective of crime making the book even more interesting. I have also had introduced the aspect of punishment for the crime and its impact on the crime reduction in the society. The book outlines Bentham’s general crime theory component; this is a physical and religious sanction, a moral and political sanction. However, it would have been good to include Durkheim’s three levels of crime division to make the discussion insightful. Durkheim’s three levels of crime division comprise of the mixture of a financial crisis and industrial strife. Secondly, it is the rigidity and unnatural division; and, lastly, this is the unusual division of labor.

I would also introduce the argument of Robert Merton for the discussion of the book. Robert Merton stipulates that the basic aim of studying the crime is to understand how some social structures exert a definite pressure on certain people in the society, which makes them engaged in nonconforming rather than conforming the conduct. He has looked at the variations in the rates of deviant behavior, not at its incidence. He has illustrated that desires can regulate and control the individual willingness to use unacceptable ways to achieve his or her desires. This argument brings another aspect of analysis of the crime in the society. This is because the link existing between desires and means is what called as a strain theory. It is prudent to note that the prevention of the person pressured to succeed makes him or her look for the alternative ways to achieve the means turning out to be criminalized. This argument would have given the book another new perspective of analysis for the crime to an extent that anybody can connect the argument of the book very fast. It is noted that every cultural set up has a unique element which endears worth emulating.

The book takes a critical analysis of the modern type of a classical meaning for the crime (Hirschi & Gottfredson, 1990). The book points out that force and fraud have become a part of the human behavior and showed that a denial of existence of fraud is tantamount to misleading the public policy analysis. The book promotes the idea that the low self-control is a great link to criminal activities. Towards this, the crime prevention should be studied in line with how to boost self-control and self-esteem in a person. The authors should have included several classical writers on the topic of study in order to give an array of opinions and make the book insightful.

My Reaction to the Book

 
 
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The book discusses a current version of crime but doe not capture adequately the need to look into technology and criminal activities associated with it. In the today's world, globalization has made the things very easy. However, this has been challenging and difficult to cope with. In this regard, a cyber crime and online fraud are some of the current issues which the book ought to feature prominently in the discussion.

The remarkable gift of technological advancement has generated the unprecedented responsibility and challenges to a human kind. The Computer and Information Technology are changing basic societal norms of democratic societies. The question of cyber-ethics education is complex and has aroused a great public discourse. The big question is whether it should be designed on the foundation of Utilitarianism or a Deontological moral system. This paper takes a succinct analysis of whether the cyber-ethics education should embrace Utilitarianism or the Deontological moral system. Towards this, it is prudent to define two concepts that are Utilitarianism and the Deontological moral system to simplify the analysis.

In examining the penalty of any action, Utilitarianism depends on the theory of intrinsic value which highlights that something is deemed to be good in itself despite some repercussions. All other values are assumed to gain their worth from their relation to this intrinsic good as the means to an end (Kendler 2008). In this regard, the action is right if it promotes happiness; and it is wrong if it does not bring happiness not only to a performer but also to everybody.

The deontological moral system focuses on the strict flow of independent societal moral rules or duties (Edelbach & Winston 2011). In making the correct moral choices, people should understand what their moral duties are and what the correct rules which govern them are. When people follow their duties, they behave morally. Generally, in the deontological set up, the duties, rules and obligations are determined by God (Lillie 2003). Therefore, behaving morally is obeying God’s rules.

In my opinion, the cyber-ethics education calls for moral behaviour, which is pegged on both Utilitarianism and the deontological moral system. This is because following rules, the regulation will not only bring happiness according to Utilitarianism but also depict the human moral uprightness in obeying rules, which are extensions of obeying God as held in the deontological system. In this regard, when a person steals an article, which is the intellectual property from the internet, the person should face the law similar to anybody that has stolen and physical property. This will go a long way in curbing plagiarism and enforcing good ethics and morals in the so-called digital community. Cyber-ethics should, therefore, be streamlined to embrace the aspects of the deontological moral system and Utilitarianism.

Currently, everybody uses a computer. For instance, while surfing in the internet. However, only few people are aware of the risk that this computer can cause. In fact, several  people have known how to commit the cyber crime anonymously, and, in most cases, the victims are unaware. There are various  types of cyber crime. Few  people are able to operate the computer adequately. It will pose a great threat to the society’s well being not only in future but also in the current business environments. Viruses and Trojans are also a common cyber crime. The computer virus is a program that replicates itself in order to affect the computer without the knowledge of an owner of the computer. Viruses are spread through e-mail, flash drives or any other form of a portable device with the memory card. The cyber crime is a big criminal offense. Since computer technology is a new technology, there have been several legislative measures that have helkped in solving the problems of the cyber crime.

Ethics and Professionalism in a Bid to Curb the Crime

The book A General Theory of Crime by Micahel R. Gottfredson and Trevis Hirschi has not addressed the current issue of cyber crime. I think this is critical to the discussion of this work. A broad perspective of knowledge of cyber crime is very important. The book makes a very important point that the crime has got a higher inclination to behaviors of people in the society. Towards this, it should be noted that the society is changing rapidly; and the computer usage is becoming as the part of everybody’s life. Therefore, the behavior of many people has significantly changed by the internet. I would have included the aspect of cyber crime as the current challenges in the crime and criminals in the society.

Low Self-Esteem and the Criminal Activity

Several available literature sources confirm that Gottfredson’s and Hirschi’s argument that the low self-control is proportionate to the crime or deviance behavior. However, there is a dramatic paradigm shift which has seen some criminologists criticizing the validity of Gottfredson’s and Hirschi’s argument, which connects the low self-esteem to the crime. Their opponent explains that that low self-control is one of the main causes of the degree towards the crime. However, Gottfredson’s and Hirschi’s definition of self-control has no connection with this propensity. Their application of the term low self-control and high self-control are pointed out as what illustrates the differential degree to commit the crime. Gottfredson and Hirschi have failed to differentiate the low self-control and the degree to commit the crime. Thus, the degree of crime and low self-control are seen to be the ones which are not the case. On the other hand, Gottfredson’s and Hirschi’s argument for the self esteem theory has been faulted to lack an indepth explanation for what causes the white-collar crime. According to Gottfredson and Hirschi, all criminals are compelled to commit crimes due to the low self-control and to have the similar level to indulge in the criminal activity. However, other studies show that the white collar crime offenders do not commit these crimes frequently; and they have no low self esteem.

Applicability of Gottfredson’s and Hirschi’s Theory of Self-Esteem

Gottfredson’s and Hirschi’s argument theory of low self-esteem are practical in the today real life. Therefore, children should be socially oriented to have the high self-esteem. This is because the high self-esteem will help the person to be a good and law abiding individual in the society. Gottfredson’s and Hirschi’s argument have come up with the policy which are geared towards the reduction of crime based on the low self esteem theory. Gottfredson’s and Hirschi’s policy argument stipulates thatthe person can easily be prevented from committing the crime and explaining that once the person has committed it, it becomes difficult to deter him or her from such habit. This idea stipulates the irrational notion of the one who has indulged into the crime, it becomes difficult to be rehabilitated. Gottfredson’s and Hirschi’s self-control theory are quite significant in the prediction of the crime. However, more researches need to be carried out to authenticate its justification and validity. Gottfredson’s and Hirschi’s explanation that the egocentric human behavior and the perpetual need to achieve the pleasure and avoid it are the elements of the criminal behavior. The society should be orientated in the way that people value collectivist ideas rather than individualistic.Since this will go a long way in controlling the crime.

   

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