The Crimes of the Economy
A Criminological Analysis of Economic Thought
Economists have often paid visits to the field of criminology, examining the rational logic of offending. When economists examine criminal activity, they imply that offenders should be treated like any other social actor making rational choices.
In The Crimes of the Economy, Vincenzo Ruggiero turns the tables by examining a variety of economic schools of thought from a criminological perspective. Each one of these schools, he argues, justifies or even encourages harm produced by economic initiative. He investigates – among others – John Locke’s notion of private property, Mercantilism, the Physiocrats and Malthus, and the arguments of Adam Smith, Marshall, Keynes and neoliberalism. In each of these, the author identifies the potential justification of different forms of ‘crimes of the economy’ and victimisation.
This book re-examines the history of economic thought, assessing it as the history of a discipline which, while attempting to gain scientific status, in reality seeks to make the social harm caused by economics acceptable. The book will be interesting and relevant to students and scholars of social theory, criminology, economics, philosophy and politics.
Table of Contents
1. Introduction 2. Humans and Venison 3. Victims of Progress 4. Rural Philosophy and Natural Law 5. From a ‘Modest Proposal’ to Eugenics 6. Invisible Hand and Visible Injury 7. Value, Risk and Deviant Innovation 8. Marginal Utility and the Hidden Economy 9. Socialism for the Rich 10. Neoliberalism and Ecocide 11. Business, War and Crime 12. Conclusion. References
Vincenzo Ruggiero is Professor of Sociology and Director of the ‘Crime and Conflict Research Centre’ at Middlesex University in London. He has conducted research on behalf of many national and international agencies, including the Economic and Social Research Council, the European Commission and the United Nations. He has published extensively on illicit drugs, corporate crime, corruption, political violence, social movements and penal systems.
"This is a very creative book written by prolific criminologist, Ruggiero (Middlesex Univ., London)... stimulating and refreshing... Summing Up: Highly Recommended." – P. Beirne, University of Southern Maine, CHOICE
"Ruggiero provides the reader with an extensive and disturbing analysis of how economic thought justifies and encourages crimes. Indeed, Ruggiero’s criminological reading demonstrates why one would coin the term ‘the dismal science’ to describe economics. In addition, by going beyond legal definitions of crime and showing how legitimate behaviour produces harm, Ruggiero wants to prove that conventional examples of crime are insufficient to deal with and understand crimes of the powerful. Through grasping the full extent of harm that is inflicted by economic thought, this book also urges criminologists to reflect on the current definitions of crime and, perhaps, our own rationalizations and neutralizations that inhibit us to acknowledge and criticize the crimes of the economy. "— Gwen van Eijk, Leiden University
"In summing up, let me say that... The Crimes of the Economy, it is an enjoyable read. In fact, Ruggiero’s selective usage of quotations and his style of writing often make this material a pleasure to consume... All and all, The Crimes of the Economy as told by Ruggiero is a story that all criminologists should find well worth reading and incorporating into their analyses of crime and society."— Gregg Barak, Critical Criminology