The globalization of crime has become a renowned problem for the law worldwide; as societies become more interconnected, an act in one country can have repercussions in another which is across another continent. This is primarily down to technological developments, as nowadays communication between countries is simple compared to decades ago. Alongside this transport is also a major problem, as it means that illegal activities can take place in more than one country as goods are transferred between the two, allowing the criminal world to reach all corners of the world.
The idea that globalization has produced new opportunities for crime is supported by Held et al (1999), who suggest that it has also led to new means of committing crime as well as there being new offences to commit. On the surface we may deem this to be due to knowledge of certain crimes and processes being shared between associates in each country, introducing the new ways and means to try and gain the upper hand on the out of touch police, however we must look at the situation in more business like terms: supply and demand.
Held et al found that the western civilizations generally had more demand for certain aspects of crime, such as drugs and illegal sexual encounters. Not being able to produce enough within their own civilizations, other parts of the world (notably South America for drugs) come into play. Due to them having the raw materials, whether it be drug ingredients or ability to kidnap etc. they are able to supply the west with the products they need, thus building greater connections between the continents worldwide.
Globalization has not only had an effect of physical crime, but also a substantial impact on cybercrimes. As we have become ever more reliant on computer based technology in our lives, computer hackers are continuously given new opportunities to hack servers and reek havoc with our lives through activities such as hacking a bank account, or even as extreme as invading secret service servers to gain information causing a national risk. As technology is used worldwide, it is in no way hard to get your hands on, or learn how to use computers etc.
One of the most significant problems with cybercrime is it’s secretive nature; many protection devices which can be cracked will not pick up that they have been, therefore the majority of cybercrime will go unnoticed for a substantial amount of time. Combined with the world wide web, hackers can use the computers to gain information from any organisation around the world, penetrating even the most impenetrable organisations to get what they want, highlighting how technology has led to the process of globalization within the criminal world.
Looking away from technology, globalization has also been affected by human nature, as they explore the world and discover new things. Ever since the slave trade, human trafficking has been a highly significant problem, as people are transported across continents for other peoples’ benefit. Nowadays, the purposes of these people may have changed from the days of agriculture and manual labour into more modern work such as prostitution and organ removal, but the methodology behind it is still similar.
This highlights that the process of globalization is not something that is new, but that instead some aspects of it were created centuries ago. Some people may argue that the increased connections between countries has helped prevent or limit crimes committed compared to if there was no globalization. War crimes such as genocide and nuclear alms amongst others are dealt with by organisations such as the United Nations and NATO, where after and event is known to have occurred/be occurring they will convene and attempt to prevent any further crimes being committed.
This is evident in the NATO strikes on Syria in 2012, where they used force in an attempt to stop Dictator Muammar Gaddafi’s tyrannical reign affecting more people. Sociologists dispute whether this in fact is the case as one of the most significant reasons for the interconnectedness of crime between societies can be put down to each individual police force having different standards. Without any universal guidelines, they are each able to focus on certain aspects and neglect others.
Alongside this, stereotypes highlight how some police officers, and even forces, are corrupted by organised crime gangs and therefore allow the criminal activity to take place, which in turn allows for more crime to be committed. This is evident in activities such as drug trafficking, where in the Middle East and South America criminals are able to bribe police to allow shipments and containers to travel abroad. Taylor (1997), a socialist, looked at the impact of global capitalism on crime. He stated that it allows multinational corporations to move from country to country in search for profitability, regardless of the expense.
This is reinforced by the fact many companies outsource their factories and products to be created in LEDC’s such as India and Bangladesh, using the workforce for cheap labour, reducing the costs of the goods. Vastly debated whether or not it is officially criminal, it still highlights how a multinational company can abuse individuals via globalization. Globalization’s impact on the media has also had a knock-on effect on corporate crime in terms of capitalism. As the media becomes accessible worldwide, the consumerist lifestyle is continuously portrayed to people to make them desire more, something which Taylor dislikes.
Not only does this keep the corporate crimes reaping the rewards and collecting more profit, but it also leads to them losing substantial amounts every year through stealing and shoplifting. Estimated to be at a cost of £4. 4 billion in UK stores alone, the personal desire for products which a person can not afford leads them to take such risks to gain what they want. With this, global capitalism essentially leads to global crime in terms of theft. Hobbs and Dunningham observed two key patterns within the globalisation of crime, the first being the ‘Glocal Organization’.
This refers to the fact that whilst crime often operates internationally, they are also still rooted in a local context. It operates as a ‘ghlocal’ system, where it is locally based but has international connections. This in turn also means that more crime would be committed on a whole, as there would be opportunities for international associates to engage in crime also. McMafia is the second pattern they observed in organised crime. Glenny refers to the introduction of organized crime gangs emerging from the fall as communism, taking advantage in the new environment that is capitalism.
Criminal organizations are vital to capitalism within the criminal, as it is material wealth that motivates them to take such high risks to gain more. All in all, in my view, which I feel is substantially supported by the evidence in this essay, is that globalization has led to new types and opportunities for crime. Ultimately I feel the main reason for this is down to technological developments, whether it be in communications or manufacturing, almost every aspect of crime is benefitted by technological advances.
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