Wages of Crime: Black Markets, Illegal Finance, and the Underworld Economy / Edition 1

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"Never in history has there been a black market tamed from the supply side. From Prohibition to prostitution, from gambling to recreational drugs, the story is the same. Supply-side controls act to encourage production and increase profits. At best a few intermediaries get knocked out of business. But as long as demand persists, the market is served more or less as before. In the meantime, failure to 'win the war' [against crime] becomes a pretext for increasing police budgets, expanding law enforcement powers, and pouring more money into the voracious maw of the prison-industrial complex."—from the Introduction

R. T. Naylor specializes in the study of smuggling, black markets, and international financial crime. Wages of Crime takes the reader into the shadowy underworld of modern criminal business—arms trafficking, gold smuggling, money laundering, and terrorist financing. Naylor dissects the schemes by which illegal entrepreneurs disguise their acts, manage their take, and eventually enjoy the loot. The author asserts that much of what police, press, politicians, and the public understand about international crime is based on myth and misrepresentation. A fully revised final chapter covering events since the book's initial publication in early 2002 brings Wages of Crime up to date.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Naylor, a specialist in such criminal activities as black markets, international illegal finance, and the underworld economy, argues that some of the law-enforcement fads that have become more popular since 9/11 are not just inefficient and useless but detrimental to basic individual civil liberties."—Library Journal, April 2002

"This wide-ranging, well-researched recent history of various illegal activities contains many anecdotes, on topics ranging from drug-running and gun-running to the underworld of gold. And what passes for understanding of these crime categories, Naylor says, is terribly flawed. . . . In the end, Naylor's skepticism is convincing when he talks about overblown fears of entrenched crime groups teaming up with guerrilla operations: As long as criminals' aims are mercenary and guerrillas' political, any meeting of the minds or commonality of goals will be short-lived."—Neal Lipschutz, Barron's, May 2002

"The success of the policy of controlling crime by pursuing its proceeds remains unproven, the author argues. Naylor also finds several social harms of the policy, including a distortion of law enforcement priorities, the reduction of an individual's defense against arbitrary official action when the government is allowed to pursue punitive measures while satisfying only a civil burden of proof, and the corruption engendered by the use of 'sting' operations."—Bard R. Ferrall, Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology 93:2/3

"The author takes the reader into the shadowy realm of black markets, illegal finance, and the underworld economy-arms trafficking, gold smuggling, money laundering, and terrorist financing."—Business Horizons, January-February 2003

"This book offers informative chapters on the financial aspects of guerilla movements, illegal transactions in weapons, bank secrecy and money laundering, and the underworld of gold. . . . The author . . . warns that police officials of many countries have used the recent terrorist attacks and the Bush administration's position on terrorism to get authorization for actions they have wanted for years—and these have little to do with apprehending terrorists."—Richard N. Cooper, Foreign Affairs Vol. 81, No. 5, Oct. 2002.

"R. T. Naylor makes a timely contribution to both policy and scholarly debates on transnational crime issues. Wages of Crime is a unique and exceptional look at the seamy side of global finance."—Peter Andreas, Brown University

"This fascinating and refreshingly jargon-free book takes the sword to many established beliefs about the economics of crime and reveals how shaky their foundations are. Those who do not share Naylor's deep skepticism about the differences between criminal underworlds and legitimate upperworlds, and about the value of measures to counteract criminal finance, will find the clarity of his exposition challenging. This book may not win a Nobel Prize, but its iconoclasm is as explosive as a Nobel product."—Michael Levi, Cardiff University

"The vast majority of books about transnational crime and the underworld economy are essentially true crime stories—fun to read but fundamentally lacking in any sort of critical analysis. Naylor's book is different. It too is fun to read, but it it's also scholarly and analytic, with careful attention to the ways in which politically minded and often indiscriminate criminalization of ever growing domains of transnational activity ultimately cause far more harm than good."—Ethan Nadelmann, Executive Director, Drug Policy Alliance

"It is rare that a book challenges established ideas and simultaneously offers a thoughtful reinterpretation. This book brilliantly accomplishes both goals and forces us to rethink the way we study and analyze organized crime."—William J. Chambliss, The George Washington University

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780801489600
  • Publisher: Cornell University Press
  • Publication date: 1/7/2005
  • Edition description: Revised Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 400
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Table of Contents

1 Mafias, myths, and markets 13
2 The insurgent economy : black market operations of guerrilla groups 44
3 Loose cannons : covert commerce and underground finance in the modern arms black market 88
4 Treasure island : offshore havens, bank secrecy, and money laundering 133
5 The underworld of gold 196
6 Washout : follow-the-money methods in crime control policy 247
7 Satanic purses : Osama bin Laden and the numismatic jihad 287
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