8 GLOBALISATION of CRIME: Ian Taylor Marxist Analysis
Ian Taylor (1997): The Political Economy of Crime
Taylor’s Marxist perspective looked at how the spread of global capitalism has led to, not just more crime, but
changes in the pattern and extent of crime. According to Taylor globalisation has been accompanied by 3
1 Footloose capital: multinational corporations switch production to low-wage countries in the search for greater
2 Marketisation: in the new global market place people see themselves more as calculating individual consumers, and
less as responsible citizens of communities – this undermines social cohesion.
3 The Global Media promote an increasingly materialistic culture which portrays success in terms of a lifestyle of
consumption. This is essentially what the Left Realist Jock Young called bulimic society.
4 Firms have increasingly used subcontracting and employed ‘flexible’ labour rather than long-term core workers.
All of these factors create insecurity and widening inequalities that encourage people, especially the poor, to turn to
crime. The lack of legitimate job opportunities destroys self respect and drives the unemployed to seek out
illegitimate ones, for example in the lucrative drugs trade.
At the same time globalisation creates criminal opportunities for elite groups, for example the deregulation of
financial and employment markets (less controls and surveillance) has led to wide scale insider trading, tax evasion
and the use of ‘flexible’ workers who work illegally, without health and safety protection and below the minimum
wage. A good example is the death of 21 Chinese cocklepickers in Morecombe Bay in 2004
Taylor therefore argues that these global developments create crime at both ends of the social spectrum:
TASK: on the line below (represents the social spectrum) chart some of the crimes globalisation generates (see book page 128):