Laureen Snider



Crimes Against Capital: Discovering Theft of Time

This article discusses the relationship of neoliberal law-and-order to corporate crime. Snider discusses a key aim of the neoliberal project: the disappearance of the crimes of capital — as object of state regulation and sociological analysis — and the defining of new crimes against capital perpetrated by workers. The U.S. Congress attempted to criminalize the strike as a form of extortion under interstate commerce statutes. Snider traces the evolution of a new type of offense, theft of time, arguing that while the study of unproductive’ employees is not new, translating such concepts into the discourse of criminality is. And the shift is important because calling something “criminal” is a call for the state to take action, pass criminal laws, and marshal state forces against employees, now reconceptualized as offenders. Retreating from every social obligation save the (selective) enforcement of order, the neoliberal state polices the street and the workplace — rather than the Street and the boardroom, where the real explosion in crime has occurred.

white collar crime, criminalizing work; crime and criminals — white-collar crime; labor productivity; technology — surveillance; theft of time

Citation: Social Justice Vol. 28, No. 3 (2001): 105-120