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8 The GLOBALISATION of CRIME

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8 The GLOBALISATION of CRIME

  1. 1. 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 economy: New opportunities for crime The spread of transnational organised crime New offences 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 forms: 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 It 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 local level. 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.

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