Michael Milken’s White-Collar Crimes

An analysis of the junk-bond trader’s behavior in terms of sociologist Robert K. Nerton’s theory of deviance, focusing on Milken’s autocratic, defiant, ritualistic and innovative leadership style.

This research will examine Michael Milken’s white-collar crimes and corporate deviance in terms of sociologist Robert K. Merton’s theory of deviance. The research will set forth the context in which Milken’s behavior patterns lend themselves to analysis from Merton’s perspective and then discuss how shifts in Milken’s behavior since the exposure of his white-collar crime can be explained by Merton’s views.
Merton’s conception of deviance is structured around the relationship between individual wants and needs on one hand and the ability to fulfill those wants, needs, and dreams on the other. According to Merton (25ff), the venue for fulfillment is society, and its class structure, institutions, cultural norms, and the position of the individual within the whole may facilitate, prevent, or retard fulfillment. Man, says Merton…