Friday, November 1, 2013

Interlude III - The Leveling of the Playing Field

Describe two (2) major aspects of the globalization process that promote transnational organized crime.

Two major aspects of the globalization process that promote transnational organized crime are the leveling of the international playing field and the democratization of technology.

As I have discussed previously, a primary feature of the globalization process is a leveling of the field for all involved--the loss of jobs in the West, for example, is matched by an increase in jobs in the East. We are still very much in the beginning of this process, which indeed could take generations to truly even out, but while this can mean increased "fairness" in the economic system eventually, right now it means a lot of formerly well-off people suddenly losing their power, wealth, and privilege, which makes them more likely to pursue extra-legal, or at least unregulated, opportunities to further their own ends. European companies dumping their waste off the coast of Somalia is a major example of this--these companies aren't criminals in the traditional sense, but they've become so used to being at the top of the economic pile that they're willing to go to ever-greater lengths to maintain their bottom lines. Meanwhile, those previously at the bottom of said pile are now finding themselves with all the benefits of connectivity to the rest of the world that the powerful enjoy, but without the economic infrastructure to support the responsible use of that connectivity--so they become pirates, or prey on those in need of organ transplants, or trade on the very lives and freedoms of those still even worse-off than themselves.

In keeping with this same leveling, technology is, of course, the key enabler of our newfound connectivity, and as such, it is the easiest and most readily-available tool for those who with to operate outside the law. Even more so than oceanic piracy or black-market organ sales, the hacking and theft of sensitive data from individuals, organizations, and even governments is the greatest leveler of the powerful and the powerless the world has yet experienced, because it only requires a single person. A teenager from Belgium could break into the database of a multinational corporation as easily as a hardened member of Al Qaeda or al-Shabaab, which means that genuine safety and security cannot be simply a matter of law enforcement; we must learn how to shape global culture to discourage these kinds of attacks, from which we have fewer and fewer surefire protections all the time. And of course, even individuals are susceptible to cybercrime in the form of identity theft or ransomware. It would be nice to think that "democratization" of technology means that more power is in the hands of "the people" in a collective sense, but really, it means more power in the hands of individuals--individuals who can have pure, if potentially-misguided motives, as some would describe the members of Anonymous, but certainly just as many corrupt or petty individuals who would just as soon con the average working-class person out of a thousand dollars here and there.

1 comment:

  1. i don't like paying taxes ! taxes are not the solution any problem, it's just the education of the people to participate in the society it wishes to live in it, it's nothing but that, when politicians talk about paying or not, they just don't care