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Lying, Cheating, and StealingA Moral Theory of White-Collar Crime$
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Stuart P. Green

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780199225804

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199225804.001.0001

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(p.107) 9 Promise-Breaking
Lying, Cheating, and Stealing


Oxford University Press

Legal theorists have made significant contributions to our understanding of the concept of promising. But their focus has almost invariably been on the law of contract. In light of the minimal degree of opprobrium that usually attaches to promise-breaking in that context, the idea that such moral wrongfulness might play a role in defining the moral content of crimes seems at first thought improbable. This chapter presents a brief examination of the norm against promise-breaking to explain how it differs from the other norms. It turns out that the moral content of a small but interesting collection of white-collar and regulatory offenses does in fact owe something to the concept of promise-breaking.

Keywords:   promise-breaking, criminal law, English law, moral wrongfulness

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