The Market Economy and Crime

Elliott Currie

in The Oxford Handbook of Criminological Theory

Published in print November 2012 | ISBN: 9780199747238
Published online December 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

 The Market Economy and Crime

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One of the earliest statements of a theoretical perspective on the impact of the market economy on crime can be found in Sir Thomas More's Utopia, his sixteenth-century critique of socioeconomic conditions in England. This article argues that the “holistic” and multi-layered character of the market society perspective makes it a very powerful framework for elucidating differences in crime, especially serious criminal violence, among contemporary societies; that there is strong and diverse empirical support for the relationship between “market society” and elevated rates of violence; that the market society perspective can shed light on the pronounced differences in violence between the United States and other advanced industrial societies; and that the global spread of neoliberal economic policies, along with the corollary elimination of long-established restraints on the unfettered operation of markets, have major implications for the future of crime and criminal justice.

Keywords: Thomas More; Utopia; market economy; crime; market society; violence; United States; criminal justice

Article.  7822 words. 

Subjects: Criminology and Criminal Justice ; Theories of Crime

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