Capital Punishment For Corporate Criminals
There are arguments that differ from one another on the topic of capital punishment on corporate criminals. Some of them involve execution just like a cold blooded murderer could receive. There are ways to look at what should be done to criminals of such nature and what degree to punish them.
The argument states that if capital punishment is suitable and permissible for some murderers, then it is completely permissible for corporate criminals involved in the loss of billions of dollars in innocent victims and workers. The argument comes from these views: The two main views that you should look at when looking at this argument. The first is the consequentialist view that deals with the best available grounds for capital punishment. This looks at whether capital punishment or life in prison is the best for the situation. This view supports that life imprisonment is morally the right thing to do. The way this solution came about is from general deterrence, special deterrence, cost (which is cheaper), and suffering.
The second view is the retributivist view. This is supported mainly by the non-consequentialist saying that any act of punishment is permissible if the act of punishment is equal to what the wrong doer did. For example, a murderer should be murdered. This view does have some exceptions though like a rapist should be punished by rape. Instead, the wrong doer should be punished by the same amount of harm. This view is more supported by the argument that there should be a value put on life itself. Many people say that you cannot put a value on life. But, in this modern day, people do it all the time. He gives an example in his argument that supports this view. One of them is the way our own government acts. If there is a bad road that the government owns that results in five people dying on a year, then the government will pay to have that road fixed to prevent the loss of life. If the road costs $100,000 to fix, than the value of life that the government put on was equal or more than $20,000 a person.
Another way he looked at this argument was the actual value of life. Some studies showed that the actual value of life came to about $6.1 million per person. When the WorldCom Corporation went down, they lost investors and employees around nine billion dollars. For the people that caused this huge loss, they actually committed over 1400 murders. The amount of pain and hardship that these corporate officials caused the people, is worthy of them getting executed.
The first objection that I have on this is the way that criminals should be punished. I look at general deterrence for this argument. General deterrence says that when someone is publicly punished for their actions, this will deter others from doing it in the future. I fully agree with it. Though, I do not think that capital punishment is the right way to bring about this. I think the prison terms should be lengthened for these corporate criminals. Some of the main people that were involved the Enron scandal only faced up to ten years in minimal security prison for the roles they played in that eventually resulted in the company’s collapse. This does not seem morally right to execute these people for the financial troubles they caused, so the prison sentences should severely heightened for the view of general deterrence. These criminals would certainly think twice about committing these crimes if stiffer punishment was brought forward. This objection shows that the execution argument is flawed. In my opinion, I do not think that people should be executed for committing corporate crimes. I do believe that does show a great argument, but I think it is flawed due to the fact that stiffer punishment in prison is far more effective than execution.
My second objection to this argument has to do with the likeliness of error that could be brought in a case trying to convict a corporate criminal. In a case such as the Enron scandal, there are way too many aspects and people to look at to get the answer on every issue. There were hundreds of people and businesses involved in this scandal. Therefore, it would be hard to accuse all of those people and if they were to find all of them guilty, how could they know for sure that their sentences would all be equal. Some people could be getting harsher punishments for acts they might not have committed. People get thrown in prison for things they did not do everyday and people get away with murder all of the time. If the government were to punish corporate criminals with execution, the likelihood of an innocent person getting killed would be high. Also, the likelihood of a key accomplice or people that harbored the main people could get away free. There is also the possibility of the smaller accomplices to get in trouble and not the main people. This objection to the main argument does show that execution of corporate criminals should not be performed. With the likelihood of error that could occur, the risk of death upon the criminal is not worth it, because in these type of situations there is always more than one person that should be blamed for the crimes. A lot of people get involved, and it would cost way too much money and time to do the necessary actions to sentence every person that did something wrong and find the severity of their wrong doings.
The last objection that I have for this argument is the amount of cost that would be involved. These costs could be in actual money. First, the cost of going through with an execution is quite expensive and is more expensive than putting a person in prison for life. There are a lot of lawyers’ fees and to keep a person on death row in the United States is very expensive too. If the criminal has no money left after he is convicted to be executed, money form the government will have to be provided resulting in more of the tax payer’s dollars to be used. One way to help solve this situation is to induce fines on every person or business that was involved in each scandal. Hit them in their pockets and with prison sentences. This will help the government by not using their own money that should be going towards the people of the country and not going to corporate criminals that have actually hurt the innocent citizens. Cost in this situation could also be measured in the lives could be taken (innocent or guilty). There is always a consequence for taking someone’s life. People have families and loved ones. So putting a new law saying that it would be legal to execute corporate criminals would leave many people in an up rise. This is the reason the argument is flawed.
This argument to execute corporate criminals the way murderers are is a great argument and has very plausible facts to go with it. However, I do not think that this country is ready or would be able to deal with it. Many people might not quite understand the argument maybe because they could not get over the execution part. As good as the argument states itself; I think there are too many cons in this situation to convince me to support it.
Mokhiber, Russel, and Weissman Robert. “Corporate Crime Without Punishment.” Human Quest (03). Human Quest. Indianapolis. 15 Feb.-Mar. 2008. Keyword: corporate punishment.
“Punishment to Fit the Corporate Crime.” Smh.Com.Au. 18 July 2005. 15 Mar. 2008