Deviant Globalization and moral arbitrage — Nils Gilman

Deviant globalization is the vast world of grey and black market businesses whose main source of profit is moral arbitrage.

Example: 15-30% of all cigarettes sold in Europe are smuggled in, tax-free, via the Balkans, to take advantage of the high tax rates on licit purchase options.

Deviant globalization is a confluence of inequality, moral lumpiness, and globalization. Often these businesses are run by criminals.

Drugs, yes, and also sex, weapons, human organs, exotic animals/woods, toxic waste disposal, … a long list of goods and services which the “global north” considers immoral.

Money laundering accounts for 4-12% of world GDP—$1.5 to 5 trillion dollars a year.

Deviant businesses flourish in the so-called failed states. In these cases, the state might have failed, but it is wrong to assume that the society necessarily organizes itself around the state. In many of these territories, the deviant businesses supply necessary social services.

Politically, the deviant entrepreneurs don’t want to take over the state, just undermine it. For their own communities they often provide state-like services of infrastructure, health care, and even education. They are “post-modern, post-revolutionary, and post-progressive.” They resort to violence against the state only when the state suddenly attacks them—as is playing out in Mexico now.

Listen to the talk at the Long Now.


Posted on June 19, 2012, in Social Organisms and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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