Moby Dick and the crimes of the economy

Ruggiero, Vincenzo ORCID logoORCID: (2002) Moby Dick and the crimes of the economy. British Journal of Criminology, 42 (1) . pp. 96-108. ISSN 0007-0955 [Article]


The term ‘crimes of the economy’ incorporates notions of corporate and white‐collar crime and the wide range of illegitimate conducts described as occupational offences. In using this term I refer to the debate around deviant behaviour accompanying economic venture. Such behaviour is viewed by some commentators as episodic and driven by individual pathology, and by others as an inevitable outcome of current principles and dynamics governing the economy.
Melville's Moby Dick is an economic epic containing contradictory claims about the legitimacy of accumulation, the exploitation of nature, power and hierarchy. As an allegory of industry Moby Dick describes work conditions, alludes to wages, while simultaneously praising and condemning profit and management. The purpose of this article is to identify the limit beyond which, in Moby Dick, individualism, accumulation and economic enterprise are viewed as dysfunctional. Three different ways of interpreting the crimes of the economy are examined, all detectable in Melville's epic. Respectively, these suggest notions of intrinsic, extrinsic and organizational crime. The analysis of these three notions is conducted against the background of relevant criminological debates on the crimes of the economy.

Item Type: Article
Research Areas: A. > School of Law > Criminology and Sociology
ISI Impact: 0
Item ID: 326
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Depositing User: Repository team
Date Deposited: 04 Nov 2008 16:10
Last Modified: 13 Oct 2016 14:11

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