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Capitalism, Socialism, and Delinquency (From Future of Childhood and Juvenile Justice, P 336-379, 1979, LaMar T Empey, ed. - See NCJ - 72579)

NCJ Number
A Liazos
Date Published
44 pages
The effects of the socioeconomic structures of capitalism and socialism on youth and delinquent behavior are compared under the bias that socialism is more effective in cultivating children's healthy development and reducing delinquency.
The ruling class's control of the means of production and competition among business enterprises for the consumer's dollar dominate and condition the influences that impact children and youth in a capitalist society. Emphasis on competition suppresses mutuality and cooperation in relationships; the drive for money and power leads to exploitation of workers and oppression of the powerless. Youth are rendered powerless under such a system, since they have neither capital nor meaningful employment. When raised in families of the deprived class, they tend to suffer under debilitating social and economic conditions. When raised in ruling class families, they must compete successfully according to parental values or experience alienation and rejection. Powerlessness, alienation, and deprivation stimulate rebellious and delinquent behavior. Socialism, on the other hand, is based in an ideology of socioeconomic cooperation and joint ownership where all members of the society are treated equally and receive resources to meet essential needs. The two general approaches to socialism are the Soviet model, which relies on central organization, bureaucracy, and conformity to the party line, and the Chinese model, which calls for workers' control of all institutions. Under the Chinese model, deviant behavior is handled by neighborhood groups and committees rather than formal legal institutions, except in the most extreme cases. Deviant persons are surrounded with the guidance and support of family, friends, and neighbors. Education for youth is combined with meaningful work and participation in socioeconomic decisionmaking. Capitalism may profit from efforts to create socialism's youth participation in community life, but the emerging of a general pattern in this regard must come from the foundational socioeconomic structure of socialism. Approximately 60 references are provided.


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