Crime and globalisation
- Globalisation refers to the increasing interconnectedness of socieites.
- Globalisation has many causes, including the spread of new ICT and the influence of global mass media, cheap air travel and the deregulation of financial and other markets.
The global criminal economy
Held et al suggest there has been a globalisation of crime: the interconnectedness of crime across national borders, and the spread of transnational organised crime.
Castells (1998) argues there is a global criminal economy worth over £1 trillion per annum.
- Trafficking arms and nuclear materials, smuggling illegal immigrants, trafficking in women and children, sex tourism, cybercrime, green crime, and terrorism.
- The drugs trade is worth an estimated $300-400 billion annually at street prices. Money laundering of the profits from organised crime is estimated at $1.5 trillion annually.
Global risk consciousness
- Globalisation creates new insecurities or 'risk consciousness'. e.g. economic migrants and asylum seekers fleeing persecution have given rise to anxieties in Western countries.
- One result is the intensification of social control at the national level, e.g. the UK has tightened its border control regulations.
Globalisation, capitalism and crime
From a Marxists perspective, Taylor (1997) argues that globalisation has led to greater inequality.
- Transnational corporations (TNCs) can now switch manufacturing to low-wage countries to gain higher profits, producing job insecurity unemployment and poverty.
- Deregulation means government have little control over their own economies and state spending on welfare has declined.
This has produced rising crime and new patterns of crime:
- Among the poor, greater insecurity encourages people to turn to crime, e.g. in the lucrative drugs trade.
- For the elite, globalisation creates large-scale criminal opportunities , e.g. deregulation of financial markets creates opportunities for insider trading and tax evasion.
Evaluation - Although Taylor's theory is useful in linking global trends in the capitalist economy to changes in patterns of crime, it doesn't explain why many poor people don't turn to crime.
Patterns of criminal organisation
As globalisation creates new criminal opportunities, it is also giving rise to new forms of criminal organisation:
1. 'Glocal' organisation
Hobbs and Dunningham found that the way crime is organised is linked to globalisation. It increasingly involves individuals acting as a 'hub' around which a loose-knit network forms, often linking legitimate and illegitimate activities.
- This is different from the rigid, hierachal 'Mafia'-style criminal organisations of the past.
- Although these new forms of organisation have global links, crime is still rooted in its local context. Hobbs and Dunningham conclude that crime works as a 'glocal' system - locally based, but with global connections.
Glenny (2008) examined 'McMafia' - organisations that emerged in Russia and Eastern Europe after the fall of communism (1989).
- The new Russian government deregulated much of the economy, leading to huge rises in food prices and rents.
- However, commodity prices (for oil, gas, metals etc) were kept at at their old soviet prices. Thus, well-connected citizens with access to large funds could buy these…