Italian author Loretta Napoleoni is the best selling author of Terror Incorporated and Insurgent Iraq. She is an expert on financing of terrorism and advises several governments on counter terrorism. She is senior partner of G Risk, a London based risk agency. As Chairman of countering terrorism financing group for the Club de Madrid, Napoleoni brought heads of state from round the world together to create a new strategy for combating the financing of terror networks. Loretta is an economist and journalist. She has written Rogue Economics where she tackles capitalism's dark side particularly the economics of illegal, criminal terrorist activities worldwide. Here is an excerpt from one of her lectures:
Do you know that almost a perfect correlation links the spreading of democracy and the rising of slavery? If the number of democratic countries increases so does the global pool of slaves. And that today the price of a slave is a fraction of what it was during the Roman Empire? How many people are aware that the fall of the Berlin Wall boosted the globalized sex industry? That piracy is on the rise everywhere and money laundering, a multi billion-dollar business involving banks and financial organizations, is booming? And do we know why house prices are skyrocketing? not because banks are suddenly good Samaritans but thanks to the fall in Western salaries that kicked-started the global deflationary era.
These are some of the fantasies and illusions that populate our world; we live in a planet plunged into deep commercial and economic turmoil, run by a new breed of entrepreneurs, globalization outlaws: Chinese counterfeiters, Russian oligarchs, internet porno-businessmen, Bulgarian mafia, urban gangs and politicians turned great illusionists. This is also the kingdom of rogue economics, a feral force endemic to any great transformation, a phenomenon that since the fall of the Berlin Wall has resurfaced.
The most dangerous conduit of rogue economics is the global market. Almost every product we consume hides a dark secret: the shelves of supermarkets are full of products brought to us by slaves, 75% of the fish we eat has been fished illegally and the housing market is infested with money launderers. The global market makes all of us, the consumers, the unaware business partners of globalization outlaws. When we buy a wedding ring made with the gold extracted by Congolese children enslaved by pitiless war-lords, gold illegally trafficked into Uganda by gangs of smugglers, and sold with fake certificates provided by rogue trading companies, we tie important commercial knots with the sinister underworld of the illegal and criminal economy of Central Africa.
We ignore the dark secrets of what we consume because we are trapped inside the market matrix, a complex network of political illusions, commercial and economic fantasies. We believe that the global village we inhabit is an idyllic world.
To glance at reality we have to escape from the market matrix and look at the global village from outside its boundaries, through the eyes of the victims of globalization outlaws: the slaves, the one billion people who live with less than a dollar a day, the Western middle class which is sinking into poverty, those who lose their home because of the supreme mortgage crisis and those who lose their savings because of that.
But there is hope! This is not the first time humanity sinks into these illusions. It happened during the Industrial Revolution, when the rising English middle class ignored that their prosperous life style was directly linked to the inhuman exploitation of children, women and penniless people inside the English work-houses. Rogue economics is the underlying current of progress, always looming in the background of history, ready to take over at times of great transformations. When politics fails to sail throughout the tempest of progress, profit-making takes the lead and people lose track of reality.
Today rogue economics is once again reshaping the world by promoting the partnership between Chinese economics and Islamic finance. The signs of this alliance are already apparent in Africa where Islamic banks and Chinese industrialists are cooperating to access its resources. A new axis running from China to South Africa via the Middle East will be the epicenter of the future system and Western countries will rest at the periphery of the new world .
- ABC Radio