Toxic State–Corporate Crimes, Neo-liberalism and Green Criminology: The Hazards and Legacies of the Oil, Chemical and Mineral Industries


This paper uses examples from the history and practices of multi-national and large companies in the oil, chemical and asbestos industries to examine their legal and illegal despoiling and destruction of the environment and impact on human and non-human life. The discussion draws on the literature on green criminology and state-corporate crime and considers measures and arrangements that might mitigate or prevent such damaging acts. This paper is part of ongoing work on green criminology and crimes of the economy. It places these actions and crimes in the context of a global neo-liberal economic system and considers and critiques the distorting impact of the GDP model of ‘economic health’ and its consequences for the environment.

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Published: 2013-11-11
Pages:12 to 26
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How to Cite
Ruggiero, V. and South, N. (2013) “Toxic State–Corporate Crimes, Neo-liberalism and Green Criminology: The Hazards and Legacies of the Oil, Chemical and Mineral Industries”, International Journal for Crime, Justice and Social Democracy, 2(2), pp. 12-26. doi: 10.5204/ijcjsd.v2i2.115.

Author Biographies


Professor Vincenzo Ruggiero is the Director of the Crime and Conflict Centre at Middlesex University, U.K. He has an envious record of distinguished achievement arising from a life-long contribution to criminology, mostly in Europe. Vincenzo’s interest in criminology began in the 1970s as a political activist who, with others, created a magazine devoted to crime and punishment spurned by prisoner’s riots. He later founded a publishing house specializing in prisoners’ writings. The writings were not only political, but included fiction and poetry. The enormity of his influence on European criminology is evidenced by his editorial board memberships – 11 in total, including internationally distinguished journals such as Capital and Class; The Open Criminology Journal; Criminologia; and Critical Criminology. Vincenzo’s contributions to criminology include 23 sole authored books on a range of topics, from Penal Abolitionism; Movements in the City, Conflict in the European Metropolis; Eurodrugs, Drug Use, Markets and Trafficking In Europe; Crime and Literature: Sociology of Deviance and Fiction and his forthcoming book on The Crimes of the Economy. Fourteen of these books are published in Italian. Many of his publications in journals have been published in multiple languages including English. In 2000 Vincenzo was attached to the United Nations crime and drugs office in Vienna, where he coordinated an international research project on transnational organised crime and trafficking in human beings. While attached to the UN he also contributed to the drafting of the UN Convention against organised crime.


Professor South has taught at various universities in London and New York and between 1981 and 1990 worked as a Research Sociologist at the Institute for the Study of Drug Dependence (now Drugscope), London, before returning to the Department in 1990.
He has previously served on the editorial boards of Sociology, The International Journal of Drug Policy, and The Howard Journal of Criminal Justice, and continues to serve on the board of Critical Criminology and as an Associate Editor of the USA journal, Deviant Behavior. He is currently an Adjunct Professor, School of Justice, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane.
Following roles as Director of the Health and Social Services Institute,Head of the Department of Health and Human Sciences, and Director of Health Partnerships, he is now Pro Vice Chancellor, Faculty of Law and Management, and Academic Partnerships.