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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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Extortion and Blackmail

Extortion and Blackmail

(p.212) 17 Extortion and Blackmail
Lying, Cheating, and Stealing


Oxford University Press

From the perspective of criminal practice, blackmail and extortion seem like fairly exotic offenses; prosecution for either is a relatively rare event. Yet no white-collar offense has received more serious and sustained philosophical attention than blackmail (and, indirectly, extortion). What explains this anomaly? The answer is that the very factors that make the so-called ‘blackmail paradox’ such a compelling subject of theoretical analysis — in particular, the uncertain moral basis on which the offense rests — also make blackmail and extortion disfavored in the real world of criminal prosecutions. This chapter does not attempt to resolve the blackmail paradox, but rather shows how it fits into the broader theory of white-collar criminal law that is being developed.

Keywords:   white-collar crime, criminal law, extortion, blackmail paradox

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