Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Rogue Economics

Loretta Napoleoni’s quest to identify the failures of capitalism and explore the essence of globalization is presented in her most recent book, Rogue Economics: Capitalism’s New Reality.

Napoleoni discussed her book at the Center for Strategic International Studies and spoke about the different issues that the novel examines. To delve into the heart of her novel, Napoleoni organized a discussion based on distinguishable traits that she uses to define rogue economics.

One component of rogue economics concerns a proliferation of a “grey area” in the global economy. This allows individuals to take advantage of economic change and move toward clandestine markets laden with impropriety. To illustrate this component of rogue economics, Napoleoni began by discussing the Youth Communist Club in Russia and how they used pop-culture to manipulate the economy with different types of currency. The illicit activities allowed changes in power distribution, both economic and political power, to occur. This shifting of power distribution allows the economy to move faster than politics as unregulated economic activity moved on the grounds of society, unbeknownst to political officials or unseen by official political radars.

Rogue economics also involves slavery and unregulated sex worker industries. In regards to inhumane businesses and forced labor, Napoleoni examines the context in which these illegal forms of business change. She finds that major transition stages, particularly eras of political change, often accompany a growth in slavery and other immoral, illicit markets. The growth, she notes, is surprisingly immense. To illustrate this point, Napoleoni mentions the growth in the slave industry in Africa and Asia in the immediate post-colonization period. She also notes how the decolonization, democratization and increasing globalization accompany and even catalyze illicit activities.

Napoleoni’s thought provoking book examines the strength of the black market and explores the context that fosters it. To mitigate the problems caused by illicit economic activity, Napoleoni hints to new forms of regulation. With oversight and the ability to conduct legal, business transactions in a structured system, rogue economics would not be as harmful to society and to the people that often fall victim to its force.

Sponsor: Center for Strategic and International Studies
Location: 1400 16th St. NW
Date: April 3, 2008
Time: 10:30am-12:00pm
Approximate Number of Attendees: 20
Representative Attending: Saphonia Foster

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