There are many definitions of crime. Most of them are definition by the state or other formal and power full institutions. Thats is the main problems. In capitalist society, crime is what the capitalist says. In other word, crime is something that not advantage the capitalist system.
Now days, it is easy to see a thief catch by the police just because the thief wants to get food. But it is very difficult for us to see a big corruptor or a very big transnational corporation that marginalized poor countries being prisoned. The second case is an illustration what crime really are in capitalist society. Crime is not a big matter for the one who have a lot of money to pay the system work for them self.
In Indonesia, and I think it happen too in other countries, many government policy do not work for the good of poor people. Some people defined as a criminal just because he or she sale traditional food at the street side. The government call them to leaf the place because it make the place more dirty. In my opinion, the government has to support peoples rights to make a better living condition by doing some informal economic activity. It much better when government give the people an alternative for their “illegal in the eye of government” activity. Such as, relocation to other place and help them to sustain in that place by reducing the rent money.
In the case of Lapindo, Indonesian government show the unfair policy by keep the PT Lapindo Brantas free from their responsibility. Lapindo corporation has make a massive destruction and kill the community culture, but government do nothing to ask Lapindo give their reponsibility in criminal court. Lapindo clearly make developmental crime, but central government ironically give Lapindo guarantee money to pay the people lost.
Karl Marx as well as Richard Quinney has point this fenomena as a capitalist society pattern. There are no crime by the rich, but so many crime doing by the lower class. In this context, the reality of crime are the way the poor people survive in life, because their do not have an alternative. Government, specially criminal justice system cant understand this reality. Unfortunately, government and criminal justice system exist as a right hand of business corporations. Thats why criminal justice industrial complex happen. This “complex” is a common pattern that criminal justice system has guard the interest of corporations. Therefore corporations always give an advantage for the system, such as money and weapons.
What should we do in this unfair situation? Marx said “revolutions”. I think there are many alternative for this problems. State as the main stakeholder in order to make peoples welfare has make their role properly. In Indonesians case, state has consistent with the constitutions that says state have an obligations to make it. But, in fact I realized it really difficult to force the state take poor people side. It is because in order to make the political power full people save their own political power, they have to cooperate with business interest. That is the big wall. For me, it is almost far from possible to hope the state and business good will.