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.