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date: 29 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Middle-class crime is a more recent development added to the conceptual framework of white-collar crime. This chapter addresses the increase in fraud committed by “ordinary people” from the middle classes, often in a gray zone between illegality and immorality. Due to changes in consumption, finances, and banking, and foremost the Internet, they are both offenders and targets and victims of crime, resulting in a considerable overlap between offending and victimization. These contemporary developments are analyzed against the backdrop of a globally growing middle class and the profound changes in which its members work, consume, and own property. Europe, with its established and large middle classes, is representative of these changes and the typical fraudulent practices and middle-class fraudsters they generate. These crimes of everyday life constitute the criminality of the middle classes and illuminate their “inner moral life” and moral commitments, both as consumers and as citizens.

Keywords: middle-class crime, crimes of everyday life, moral economy, rise of the middle classes, consumer crime, consumer victimization, tax evasion, benefit fraud, fairness in markets, greed and need

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