Faculty of Education, Social Sciences and Law

School of Politics and International Studies

Dr Wiegratz on neoliberalism and fraud

09 January 2013 | Alex Greenwood

Dr Jörg Wiegratz offers his analytical take on fraud in contemporary neoliberal societies in a just-published book chapter titled: 'The neoliberal harvest: the proliferation and normalisation of economic fraud in a market society'.

The work is a contribution to the book New Directions in Crime and Deviance (Routledge), which is based on key papers presented at the historic York Deviancy Conference and edited by the criminologists Simon Winlow (Teesside) and Rowland Atkinson (York).

In his research, Dr Wiegratz studies processes related to the emergence and consolidation of neoliberal market societies in the various parts of the world, especially (but not only) in Africa.

He researches neoliberalism as a cultural programme of restructuring norms, values, orientations, and practices with special emphasis on the dynamics of moral restructuring.

His particular focus is therefore on the moral economies of neoliberalism, especially the moral economies of economic fraud, 'malpractice', power, and poverty.

Abstract of published book chapter

Economic trickery, fraud and crime are a key feature of the contemporary global capitalist economy, with almost every business sector affected. What does the empirical significance of these practices tell us about contemporary capitalist societies? What is the political-economic and normative context and dynamic in which these practices are embedded? What are the values and norms - and especially moral codes - that shape these practices of elite and non-elite actors, both in the Global North and Global South?

In this chapter, it is argued that the neoliberal reforms and transformations - specifically the cultural political economy dynamics of the unfolding of the neoliberal market society - are a key contributor to the prevalent fraud trends. In this view, the apparent proliferation and normalisation of economic fraud is in significant ways an outcome of the neoliberal restructuring of the past decades, at both the political-economic and normative level. This includes the re-calibration of the moral underpinning (thus the moral restructuring) of the economy, society and polity.

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