- Category: Frontpage Articles
- Last Updated: Monday, 01 May 2017 09:00
- Published: Tuesday, 17 January 2012 15:57
- Written by Andrew Wright
- Hits: 5608
When is a crime not a crime? This is a question that CrimeTalk will ask in 2012 as part of the current global interrogation of the ethics of capitalism, and whether the apparent absence of any ethics is inevitable or typical. As the global critique, and the legal problems raised by globalization continue, it raises issues about why politicians allow something to be done in their country that would be a crime in most other countries. One of the sadder answers is that a crime is not a crime in practice when the perpetrator commits the act abroad in a developing country with the collusion of local rulers in complete disrespect for the local population.
During the colonial period of British imperialism, for example, our rulers exported the theory of the rule of law in democracy but were often extremely slow or entirely forgetful in actually applying it to the sins of our own colonial military, miners, entrepreneurs, police and administrators. A local worker could be beaten to death by a mine supervisor in sub-Saharan Africa and receive only a small fine or even be found innocent if the poor victim had an ‘enlarged spleen’. In this article, Andrew Wright will outline another answer to our question: multinational companies today look for countries with lax regulatory regimes to expand their business, in what is known as jurisdiction shopping: as I type this on an Apple iMac made affordable to me by the low wages of South-East Asian workers in this age of neo- or economic colonialism. [Ed.]