Crime and Globalisation


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  • Created by: Sarah
  • Created on: 05-06-11 17:25

Crime and Globalisation

There has been globalisation of crime - an increasing interconnectedness of crime across national border. Rge same processes that have brought about the globalisation of legitimate activities have also brought the spread of TRANSNATIONAL ORGANISED CRIME. Globalisation creates new opportunities for crime, new means of committing crime and new offences.

As a result of globalisation, Castells argues, there is now a global criminal economy. This takes number of forms:

  • Arms Trafficking
  • Trafficking in nucleur materials
  • Smuggling of illegal immigrants
  • Trafficking in women and children
  • Sex Tourism
  • Cyber crimes
  • Green crimes
  • International terrorism
  • Smuggling of legal goods
  • Trafficking in endangered species
  • The drug trade
  • Money Laundering
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Global Risk Consciousness

Globalisation creates new insecurities and produces a new mentality of 'risk consciousness' in which risk is seen as global rather than tied to particular places. FOR EXAMPLE: the increased movement of people, as economic migrants seeking work or as asylum seekers fleeing persecution, has given rise to anxieties among populations in Western countries about the risk of crime and the need to protect their borders.

Much of our knowledge about risks come from the media, which often give an exaggerated view of the dangers we face. Immigration: the media create moral panics about the supposed 'threat' which is often fuelled by politicians. Negative coverage of immigrants - portrayed as terrorists 'flooding' the country - has led to hate crimes against minorities in several countries including the UK.

The UK has toughened it's border control regulations.

Another result of globalised risk is the increased attempts at international cooperation and control in the various 'wars' on terror, drugs and crime - particularly since the terrorist attacks on September 11th.

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Globalisation, Capatalism and Crime

Taylor says that globalisation has led to changes in the pattern and extent of crime. It has created greater inequality and rising crime.

Globalisation has allowed transnational corporations to switch manufacturing to low-wage countries producing job insecurity, unemployment and poverty.Deregulation means that governments have little control over their own economies, for example to create jobs or raise taxes, while state spending on welfare has declined.

Marketisation has encouraged people to see themselves as individual consumers, calculating the personal costs and benefits of each action, undermining social cohesion. Left realists say that the increasing materialistic culture promoted by the media portrays sucess in terms of a lifestyle.

These factors create insecurities and widening inequalities that encourage people, especially the poor to turn to crime. The lack of legitimate job opportunities drives the unemployed to look for illegitimate ones, for instance in the drugs trade.

Globalisation has led to new patterns of employment which have created new opportunities for crime. It has led to the increased use of subcontracting to recruit 'flexible' workers, often working illegally or employed for less than the minimum wage or working in breach of health and safety or other labour laws.

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Glocal Organisation

Hobbs and Dunningham found that the way crime is organised is linked to the economic changes brough by globalisation.

  • The new forms of organisation have international links, especially with the drugs trade, but crime is still rooted in its local contexts - individuals still need local contacts to find opportunities to sell.
  • Hobbs and Dunningham conclude that crime works as a GLOCAL system. It is still locally based but with global connections.
  • This means that the form it takes will vary from place to place, according to local conditions, even if it is influenced by global factors such as the availability of drugs from abroad.
  • Hobbs and Dunningham argue that changes associated with globalisation have led to changes in patterns of crime - for example, the shift from the old heirarchical gang structure to loose networks of flexible, opportunistic entrepreneurial criminals.
  • However it is not clear that such patterns are new nor that the older structure has completely dissapeared. Two may have always co-existed.
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