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International Journal for Crime, Justice and Social Democracy

Populism, Law and Order and the Crimes of the 1%


The article examines the evidence of endemic financial crime in the global financial crisis (GFC), the legal impunity surrounding these crimes and the popular revolt against these abuses in the financial, political and legal systems. This is set against a consideration of the development since the 1970s of a conservative politics championing de-regulation, unfettered markets, welfare cuts and harsh law and order policies. On the one hand, this led to massively increased inequality and concentrations of wealth and political power in the hands of the super-rich, effectively placing them above the law, as the GFC revealed. On the other, a greatly enlarged, more punitive criminal justice system was directed at poor and minority communities. Explanations in terms of the rise of penal populism are helpful in explaining these developments, but it is argued they adopt a limited and reductionist view of populism, failing to see the prospects for a progressive populist politics to re-direct political attention to issues of inequality and corporate and white collar criminality.
Pages:113 to 131
Section: Articles


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Author Biography

Queensland University of Technology
Australia Australia

Adjunct Professor

School of Justice, Faculty of Law

Open Access Journal
ISSN 2202-8005