The Best Way to Rob a Bank

Abstract

Cohen and Machalek’s (1988) evolutionary ecological theory of crime explains why obscure forms of predation can be the most lucrative. Sutherland explained that it is better to rob a bank at the point of a pen than of a gun. The US Savings and Loans scandal of the 1980s suggested ‘the best way to rob a bank is to own one’. Lure constituted by the anomie of warfare and transition to capitalism in former Yugoslavia revealed that the best way to rob a bank is to control the regulatory system: that is, to control a central bank. This makes possible theft of all the people’s money in a society. The criminological imagination must attune to anomie created by capitalism, and to the evolutionary ecology of lure.

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Published: 2018-03-01
Pages:123 to 138
Section:Articles
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Author Biographies

Faculty of Law, University of Zagreb
 Croatia

Assistant Professor, Chair for Criminal Law, University of Zagreb

Australian National University
 Australia

John Braithwaite is a Distinguished Professor and Founder of RegNet (the Regulatory Institutions Network) at the Australian National University .

He is embarking on a 20-year comparative project called 'Peacebuilding Compared', with Hilary Charlesworth, Valerie Braithwaite and Kate Macfarlane. In the past he has worked on a variety of areas of business regulation and on the crime problem. His best known work is on the ideas of responsive regulation and restorative justice.

John Braithwaite has been active in social movement politics around these and other ideas for 40 years in Australia and internationally. His most recent book is Regulatory Capitalism: How it works, ideas for making it work better (2008).