Globalization, or the influx of capital and firms into new countries, is the phenomenon characteristic of the 21st century. Governments have praised it for providing new jobs and creating new opportunities for international cooperation , while critics have pointed out its negative effects such as displacement of employees and increase in crime rates. This study seeks to identify the link of globalization with crime rates and propose effective solutions within the given framework of discussion. Case study: Perestroika in Gorbachev’s Soviet Union
William Moskoff (1993) attributes the failure of perestroika or economic reforms instituted by Gorbachev in the Soviet union of the 1980s to the ‘deeply troubled’ economy that his government inherited. “The stagnation of the economy could be seen in the significant decline in the rates of economic growth in the quarter century preceding Gorbachev’s ascent to power. Economic growth, which during the decade 1961-70 averaged 4. 8 annually, fell by fully half to 2. 4 percent a year, from 1971 to 1980, and to a mere 1. 7% a year from 1981 to 1985. (Moskoff 1993) In Chapter 2: The Shortage Economy, Moskoff adds that
Neither Mikhail Gorbachev nor perestroika created shortages; central planning did. But the consequence of perestroika was to exacerbate the shortages that already existed in many important areas,such as food supply, beyond the limits that were tolerable to the population. 2 _______________________________________________________ The shortage economy that grew under Gorbachev from 1985 through 1991 significantly reduced the Soviet Union’s standard of living and contributed mightily to the anger, despair, and cynicism that came to abide daily in the land. He then identifies the free market economy that took place outside the dominant and
legal state economy; and hoarding as the main contributors to the failure of perestroika. The free market economy, in Moskoff’s definition, Included everything from stealing state property and selling or using it, to the sale of food in legal collective farm markets,to illegally buying positions of power in the party. Private hoarding was the response of the population to real and imagined shortages. One of the interesting points in Moskoff’s discussion is the observation of the incompatibility of the economic reforms being implemented with the existing legal structure. Under communism, private property is not allowed.
Hence, when perestroika was introduced as a means of gradually democratizing Russia, it came into conflict with the existing laws against private ownership. From a sociological point of view, the prevailing conditions and lack of laws governing private property led to opportunism and corruption by those in a position to acquire food and land. The people, on the other hand, coped with the scarcity caused by the difficulties of perestroika by hoarding goods. Crimes such as stealing state property and buying positions of power went unpunished because of anomie, or the normlessness that resulted from a change
in government. 3 ________________________________________________________________________ In sociological literature, anomie has often been linked with deviant behavior such as crime and suicide. Teresa Brennan (2003) in ‘Globalization and its Terrrors’ coins the term ‘bioderegulation’ to refer to the erosion of the natural human body clock due to the necessity of complying with the demands of the globalized marketplace. She cites the work of Gray and Schor and notes that “the effects and results of deregulation are to make humans work harder conforming to
new rules of inhuman time, to restrict human interaction and personal contact. The ‘other side of deregulation’ is to “increase the pace of production, distribution, exchange and consumption. ” Bioderegulation, in Brennan’s view, as an effect of globalization, is the new form of anomie for the 21st century. As a condition of normlessness, it could lead to increased rates of crime. Brennan cites Gray’s definition of the problems attending globalization: “The central dilemma of public policy today is how to reconcile the imperatives of deregulated markets with enduring human needs.
” She also refers to Schor’s work showing that human beings are abandoning social customs, or tacit regulations, because they have to. (Brennan, 2003) Drawing on the case study of perestroika, we can observe an analogous situation happening in countries that are experiencing growth due to globalization. Although the potential for economic benefits is considerable, the possibilities for anomic conditions are also more numerous. 4 ________________________________________________________________________ In Tom Farer’s work, Transnational Crime in the Americas: An Inter-American
Dialogue Book, Peter Andreas describes increased efforts to monitor crime that accompany the movement of firms into other countries. “The regulation and monitoring of cross-border flows is central to the modern state’s claims of territorial sovereignty. However, the focus and concern vary significantly across time. In the post-cold-war era of global economic integration, many states are less concerned about deterring cross-border military threats or imposing tariffs on cross-border commerce and are, instead, more concerned about policing prohibited cross-border economic activities.
1 Enhanced state efforts to police these prohibited activities—such as the smuggling of drugs, people, and dirty money—contrast sharply with the general trend toward opening borders and reducing the role of the state in the economy. (Farer, 1999) In the same work, Joyce adds a definition of transnational crime: Transnational crime is interpreted here as any illicit activity or activity conducted by illicit means that involves the penetration of national borders. In (Joyce, p99) With the rise of globalization, new possibilities for crime arise that demand
equally vigilant and effective responses. Combining the works of Farer (1999), Tonry (2000), and Valier (2003), this study proposes three approaches to understanding and responding to crime in the age of globalization. The first approach, based on Farer’s results, is to increase collaboration and communication of police departments in countries that have invested heavily in multinational activity. 5 ________________________________________________________________________ The second approach is based on an economic linkage to crime, as proposed by Anne
Piehl in Economic Conditions, Work, and Crime (Tonry, 2000), suggests that there is an existing tendency among educated people to assume that poor economic conditions are a cause of crime. She remarks that “Advocates of employment-based solutions to the crime problem also rely on such a causal notion. Nonetheless, there has been surprisingly little convincing evidence to support this belief. In connection with the globalized economy, Piehl observes that Evidence of a connection between the economy and crime has impli-
cations for macrolevel policy and for microlevel interventions. If a boom- ing economy yields crime reductions, this is an additional argument for pro-growth macroeconomic policy. If improved earnings potential keeps individuals in the legal sector and out of illegal activity, training pro- grams and subsidized employment are recommended. Furthermore, an understanding of the relationship between economic conditions and criminal behavior may help with our understanding of criminal behavior more generally. (Tonry, 2000) Piehl’s work suggests that improving the earning potential of employees in
multinational companies is one way of keeping people ‘out of illegal activity. ’ However this has considered together with Brennan’s notion of ‘bioderegulation. ’ If an employee’s anomie is a result of being unable to adapt to the schedule or pace of the work place, then if the system allows it, changes in schedule can be made (rather than in income) to increase adaptation. 6 ________________________________________________________________________ The third approach is drawn from the work of Claire Valier, in Crime and Punishment in Contemporary Culture. (Valier, 2003):
Valier contrasts society’s mechanism for dealing with crime one hundred years ago with the one we have today. In the age of the Internet, we apparently have a better and more efficient system of identifying and reporting crimes. However, in Durkheim’s description, scandals and crimes were dealt with through outraged talk of communities. “A century ago, Emile Durkheim argued that through outraged talk, members of a community are bonded together. For Durkheim, when the enraged passions aroused by a crime are communicated between members of a social group, they reinforce its values.
Anger, a passion excited by injury to the group’s moral tenets, confirms membership of the group. At the same time, this fury solicits severe and exclusionary punishment, marking the repudiation from belonging of the offender. A powerful and univocal public wrath arises through meetings and visits among the local group, built up from talk between its members. ” (Valier 2003) Valier adds that “Internet communications about crimes and punishments performatively construct new collectivities, in a process which begins to reconfigure the modern outlines of penality.
” While the speed and efficiency of internet communication offer better ways for citizens to report and condemn crimes, the question of ‘community’ arises. Who will the crime be reported to? And with what strength will the members of the community condemn it? The main problem stems from the nature of work arrangements in the 7 ________________________________________________________________________ globalized workplace. With an increased pace of work, people do not have the same opportunities to meet and gather as they did in the past.
This change in work conditions and social customs make the possibility for crime inherent in the globalized system. It may be easier in some cases for crimes to go unreported because of the various demands on attention of an internet-absorbed society. To fully implement Valier’s approach, members of the workforce, town or civic groups must maintain active ties to conservative (or normative communities) outside the work place In this way anomie can be reduced, and the chances for
responding to norm violators may be increased. In conclusion, without the necessary measures proposed by Valier, Piehl, and Fahrer, globalization can lead to unprecedented increases in anomie and criminal activity. A combination of approaches is needed to reduce the tendency toward crime: increased police collaboration and monitoring as suggested by Fahrer; improved economic programs, as Piehl relates, and the maintainance of community ties outside of the workplace to provide support and assistance in cases of norm violation.
References: 1. Brennan, Teresa. (2003). Globalization and Its Terrors Routledge. 242 pgs. 2. Farer, Tom. (1999). Transnational Crime in the Americas: An Inter-American Dialogue Book Routledge. 314 pgs. 3. Moskoff, William. (1993) Hard Times: Impoverishment and Protest in The Perestroika Years. The Soviet Union 1985-1991. M. E. Sharpe, Inc. , 1993. 244 pgs. 4. Tonry, Michael. (2000). The Handbook of Crime & Punishment Oxford University Press. 818 pgs. 5. Valier, Claire. (2003). Crime and Punishment in Contemporary Culture Routledge. 182 pgs.