A Problem of Corporate Convenience: A Case Study of the GM Ignition Switch Recall
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In light of the overwhelming harm caused by General Motors and its failure to recall defective vehicles for nearly a decade, this thesis explores the GM ignition switch recall and the numerous errors and omissions that enabled it to occur. This thesis begins by introducing corporate criminological studies broadly, then, in the second chapter, moves to develop a history of automobile regulation specifically. Following that, in the third chapter, this thesis builds the case against GM, showcasing how at several junctures GM chose profits over safety, and how the state regulatory system permitted this to happen by allowing the corporation to define a critical safety defect as a “customer convenience problem.” Finally, in chapter four, this thesis examines the state’s response to GM’s malfeasance, situating this in its broader social context, and then moves to criticize compliance and punishment oriented regulation from Ruth Morris’s (2000) conception of transformative justice. To effectively respond to corporate crime, this thesis argues that state responses should attempt to transform the criminogenic aspects of capitalism and the corporation, rather than punish or persuade.