Toxic Capitalism: Corporate Crime and the Chemical Industry, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Toxic Capitalism

Corporate Crime and the Chemical Industry, 1st Edition

By Frank Pearce, Steve Tombs


372 pages

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Originally published in 1998. While there is a growing academic literature on corporate crime, much of this focuses upon variants of economic or financial crimes; there is a relative absence of studies of safety, health and/or environmental crimes. This is curious given that recent years have witnessed a resurgence in popular, academic and indeed state attention to questions related to environmental degradation and human safety. Certainly in the latter context there is some recognition that environmental degradation must be understood partly in terms of environmental crimes by corporations. Moreover, recent experience in both the US and the UK attests to the fact that there is no ineluctable trend towards safer and healthier workplaces, as deregulatory movements have resulted in increased risks for most workers and, this text argues, an increased opportunity for, and incidence of, safety crimes. At the centre of environmental, safety and health isses lie the chemicals industries. These industries are of strategic importance to national economies, while also having almost unique hazard and risk potential and it is for these reasons that these are the focus of this text.

Any understanding of the nature of these types of corporate crimes, and thus any recognition of the potential for their more effective regulation, requires an analysis that is grounded in more general sociological concerns and in political economy. For this reason, this text emphasises the need for understandings of the nature of contemporary and emergent forms of corporate organisation, of their place in contemporary economies, and of the relationships between these forms and state formations.

Table of Contents

Part I: Capitalism, Corporations and Crime. 1. Dreams of Capitalism: Neoliberalism and Contemporary Economies. 2. Constructing and Conceptualising Capitalisms: Beyond Neoliberalism. 3. Corporate Crime. Part II: Corporate Crime in the Chemical Industry. 4. Understanding 'Accidents' in the Chemical Industry. 5. The Corporate Production of Safety and Environmental Crimes in the Chemical Industry: The Case of Major Hazards. 6. Bhopal, Union Carbide and the International Chemical Industry. Part III: Hazards, Regulation and Class. 7. Policing, Regulation and Ideology. 8. Hegemony and Risk. 9. Conclusion: Regulating Toxic Capitalism.

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