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Simon Mackenzie

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Systematic Crimes of the Powerful: Criminal Aspects of the Global Economy

This article examines the history and practice of three International Financial Institutions: the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, and the World Trade Organization. These institutions are argued to systematically prejudice developing countries in their provision of favorable trading conditions for capitalists from developed countries. The routine output of the institutional structures that constitute and enforce the rules of the global economy is massive poverty and avoidable death. To address the question whether these outcomes can be said to be the result of a “systematic” crime committed by the powerful states that designed the institutions in question, and continue to control them, relevant provisions of the domestic criminal law of England and Wales are considered. It is suggested that the values these laws enshrine, enacted by the state with the implication of their universalism, are routinely ignored in relation to the harmful effects of the international trade and finance norms studied here.

crime, harm, power, state-corporate, omission, World Bank, IMF, WTO

Citation: Social Justice Vol. 33, No. 1 (2006): 162-182