CRIME AND GLOBALISATION
GLOBALISATION = the increasing interconnectedness and interdependence of societies – this means that what happens in one locality is shaped by distant events and vice versa.
David Held et al argue that there has been a globalisation of crime – an increasing interconnectedness of crime across national borders.
Globalisation - generated a new global criminal
New opportunities for crime
The spread of transnational organised crime
The Drugs Trade: Case study: Columbia and USA – illustrates very well the demand and supply side of the global criminal economy.
DEMAND SIDE: In the USA there is a huge demand for cocaine and other drugs. Masses of people, for whatever reason, want to consume drugs. This demand is met
by the transportation, distribution and sale of the drug by organised criminal gangs
SUPPLY SIDE: Columbia contains a large population of impoverished peasants for whom drug cultivation is an attractive option which requires little investment in
technology and commands high prices compared with traditional crops. Around 20% of the population depends on cocaine production for their livelihood. Cocaine
outsells all Columbia’s other exports combined. There is also a ready supply of poor Columbian women, ready and willing to swallow illegal drugs and walk through
customs. Drug barons in Columbia are in some communities seen as heroes and role models who fund schools, hospitals and other social amenities.
Manuel Castells (1998) argues that there is
now a global criminal economy worth over
£1 trillion per annum. This takes a number of
PATTERNS OF CRIMINAL ORGANISATION
3 GLENNY (2008) McMafia
1 The Drugs trade – worth an estimated $300-400
billion annually at street prices.
2 Hate Crimes – generated by economic migrants
and asylum seekers e.g. A Kurdish asylum seeker
stabbed to death in Glasgow in 2001
3 Trafficking in women and children – often linked
to prostitution or slavery. Up to half a million
people are trafficked to Western Europe annually.
Madeleine McCann might have fallen victim to this.
4 Cyber-Crime e.g. identity theft, phishing...
5 International Terrorism – global terrorist
networks like Al Qaeda. Most is now based on
ideological links made via the internet/other ICT.
5 Money Laundering of the profits of organised
crime estimated at up to $1 trillion per year.
GLOBAL RISK CONSCIOUSNESS
Globalisation has bought:
- Economic migrants
- Asylum seekers
Both have generated anxieties and
media-inspired moral panics (e.g. over
‘scroungers’, ‘swamping’). This has in
turn led to hate crimes against minorities
McMafia refers to organisations which emerged in
Eastern Europe following the fall of communism in 1989.
As a result the Soviet Union broke up into small states
and markets were no strictly longer controlled. However
some markets, like oil, diamonds and gas, were not
deregulated meaning that they were available for a
fraction of their global market price. Only those with
access to funds like former communist officials and KGB
generals could buy up these resources for next to
nothing and sell them for massive profits. Abramovich
(Chelsea F.C. owner) was one of these people.
PATTERNS OF CRIMINAL ORGANISATION
Globalisation has created new criminal opportunities and patterns at
1 WINLOW (2001) Badfellas – study of bouncers in Sunderland
2 HOBBS & DUNNINGHAM – see new patterns of criminal organisation
best described as a GLOCAL system – a combination of the global and
local e.g. the drugs trade: local contacts and networks are required to
sell the drugs which arrive in an area through global connections. The
detect a link to the decline of the old rigidly hierarchical gangs like the
Krays to new loose networks of flexible entrepreneurial criminals
These individuals became Russia’s new capitalist class.
The collapse of communism also created instability,
disorder and chaos. To protect their wealth these new
capitalists turned to the new mafias which had sprung
up in this power vacuum. The most ruthless were the
Chechen mafia, based in Chechnya, although they soon
began to ‘franchise’ their operations globally to nonChechen groups. ‘Chechen mafia’ became a feared
brand name which was sold to protection rackets. These
mafia groups also enabled the new rich capitalist class to
move their wealth out the country. In this way criminal
organisations were vital to the entry of the new
capitalist class into the world economy. At the same
time the Russian mafias were able to build global links
with other criminal organisations across the world.