Globalisation - crime

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  • Created on: 10-03-16 14:54

Hobbs & Dunningham

  • Way crime is organised is linked to the economic changes brought by globalisation
  • it involves individuals with contacts act as a 'hub' around which a loose-knit community forms - often linking legitimate & illegitimate activities 
  • This contrasts with large scale hierarchial 'Mafia' Style crinimal organisations of past e.g headed by brothers of East end of London 
  • These new forms of organisation sometimes have international links, esp with drugs trade but is still rooted in local context
  • e.g individuals still need local contacts & networks to find opportunities to sell their drugs
  • H & D conclude crime works as a 'glocal system' - still locally based but with global connections 
  • This means its form will vary from place to place according to local conditions, even if it is influenced by global factors such as availiability of drugs from abroad

H & D argue: changes associated with globalisation have led to changes in the patterns of crime  e.g shift from old rigidly hierarchial gang structure to lose networks of flexible opportunistic entrepreneual crinimals 

However not clear that such patterns are new,nor that older structures have dissapeared - may be that 2 have co-existed. Their conclusions may not be generalisable to other crinimal activities elsewhere


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Glenny - McMafia

  • McMafia - organisations that emerged in Russia & Eastern Europe following the fall of communism - itself a major factor in process of globalisation
  • Origins of transnational originised crime traced back to the break up of the Soviet Union after 1989 - which coincided with deregulation of global markets
  • Under Communism Sstate regulated prices of everything - after fall Russian government deregulated most sectors of economy (except natural resources e.g oil which remained @ old Soviet prices 1/14 of world market price
  • Those with access to funds e.g former communist officials & KGB (secret service agents) - could buy oil, gas dimounds cheap, selling them abroad @ astronomical profit - individuals became Russia's Capitalist Class (oligarchs)
  • Collapse of communism - to protect wealth capitalists turned to mafias - often alliences between former KGB men & ex-convicts (most ruthless e.g Chechen mafia)
  • new Russian mafias were purely economic organisations to pursue self-interest 

e.g Chechen madia originated in Chechnya but soon begain to 'franchise' & become brand that sold to protection rackets in other towns 

Crinimal organisations were vital to the entry of new Russian capitalist class in world economy - Russian mafias were able to build links with crinimal organisations in other parts of world. 

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Taylor (socialist) - elite groups

Globalisation led to changes in pattern & extent of crime. By giving free rein to market forces, globalisation has created increasing gender inequality & rising crime

Its allowed transnational cooperations to switch manufacturing to low wage countries, producing job insecurities, unemployment & poverty

Deregulation -governments have little control over their own economies e.g to create jobs or raise taxes while state spending on welfare has declined 

e.g Deregulation of financial markets has created opportunities for insider trading & movement of funds around the globe to avoid taxation 

Globalisation creates crinimal opportunities on a grand scale for elite groups

Similarly, creation of transnational bodies e.g European Union has offered opportunities for fraudulent claims for subsides, estimated at over $7 billion per annum in EU

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Taylor (socialist) - poor & usefulness of theory

Marketisation encoraged people to see themselves as individual consumers, calculating the personal costs vs benefits of each action undermining social cohesion 

  • L/R note increasingly materialistic culture promoted by the global media portrays success in terms of a lifestyle of consumption.
  • These factors create insecurity & widening inequalities which encorages people esp poor to turn to crime 
  • Lack of legitimate job opportunities destroys self-respect & drives unemployed to look for illegitimate ones e.g in lucarative drugs trade e.g in Los Angeles, de-industrialisation has lead to growth of drugs gangs numbering 10,000 members

Globalisation created new patterns of employment which have created new opportunities for crime - led to increased use of subcontracting to recruit 'flexible workers' often working illegally, or working for under minimum wage or in breach of health & safety  or other labour laws 

Useful: in linking global trends in capitalist economy to changes in patterns of crime 

However, doesn't adequetely explain HOW the changes make people behave in crinimal ways e.g not all poor people commit crime

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Global Risk Consciousness

  • Globalisation creates new insequarities & produces a new mentality of risk consciousness in which risk is seen as global rather than tied to particular places
  • e.g increased movement of people, as economic migrants seeking work or asylum seekers fleeing persecution - given rise to anxieties amoung pop in Western countries about risk of c & disorder & need to protect boarders
  • Much of our knowledge about risks comes from the media which often has an exaggerated view of the dangers we face. In the case of immigration, the media creates moral panics about the threat, often fuelled by politicians .
  • Negative coverage of immigrants - as terrorists or scroungers flooding the country - has lead to hate crimes in several european countries including UK 
  • 1 result is intensification of social control on a national level. Uk has toughened its boarder control e.g fining airlines if they bring in undocumented passangers. Similarly, now no legal limit of how long person may be held in immigration detention
  • Other European states with land boarders have introduced fencing, CCTV, & thermal imaging devices to prevent illegal crossings 

Another result of globalised risk is increased attempts at international cooperations & control in various wars on terror, drugs & crime - particularly since terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001

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Held et al

Globalisation refers to the increasing interconnectedness of societies so what happens in 1 locality is shaped by distant events & vice versa 

Globalisation has many causes including:

  • Spread of ICT
  • influence of global mass media 
  • cheap air travel 
  • deregulation of financial and other markets & their opening up of competition
  • easier movement so businesses can easily relocate to countries where profits will be greater 

suggests there has been a globalisation of crime - an increasing interconnectedness of crime across national boarders.

The same process that brought about globalisation of legitimate activities have brought about the spread of transnational organised crime

Globalisation creates new opportunities for crime, new means of commiting crime & new offences, such as the various cyber-crimes 

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Castells - Trafficking/ Smuggling

As a result of crime there is now a global crinimal economy worth over 1 trillion pounds per annum - takes a number of forms:

  • Arms trafficking - to illegal regimes, guerilla groups & terrorists
  • Trafficking in nuclear materials - esp from former communist countries
  • Trafficking in women & children often linked to prostitution/slavery up to 1/2 mil to Western Europe annually
  • Trafficking in body parts - for organ transplants in rich countries - estimated 2,000 organs annually taken from condemned or executed crinimals in China
  • Trafficking in cultural artefacts - & works of art sometimes stolen to order
  • Trafficking in endangered species or their body parts e.g to produce traditional remedies
  • Smuggling of illegal immigrants - e.g the Chinease Triads make estimated $2.5 billion annually
  • Smuggling of legal goods - e.g alcohol & tobacco to evade taxes & stolen goods such as cars to sell in foreign markets
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Castells - forms & supply/demand

  • Sex tourism - where westerners travel to 3rd world countries for ***, sometimes involving minors
  • drugs trade - worth estimated $300-400 billion annually @ street prices
  • cyber-crimes - e.g identity theft/ child ***********,,
  • green crimes - that damage environment e.g illegal dumping of 3rd world countries 
  • International terrorism - much terrorism is now based on ideological links made via internet & other ICT, rather than on local territorial links as in the past 
  • Money laundering - of the profits from organised crime, estimated at up to $1.5 trillion p/y
  • Global crinimal economy has both demand side & supply side - part of reason for scale of transnational organised crime is the demand for its products & services in rich West 
  • However, gcc could not function without supply side that provides the source of drugs, *** workers & other goods & services demanded in the West - supply linked to Globalisation process. e.g 3rd world drug-producing countries e.g Columbia/Peru/Afghanistan have large pop of impoverished peasents - drug cultivation is attractive option that requires little investment in technology & commands high prices compared with traditional crops. In Columbia, estimated 20% pop depends on cocaine production for their livelihood & cocaine outsells all C's other exports
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