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A breakfast meeting in March 2000 sets the scene for a discussion of the role London’s markets have played in financing colonialist endeavours. The book’s narrative continues with an account of the closure of the London Stock Exchange’s junior market and the subsequent outcry from the financial community. This, and strategic pressures from the new market OFEX, led to the formation of the Exchange’s Alternative Investment Market, or AIM, which was by 2000 becoming a hub for mineral exploration finance. Chapter 11 concludes with an account of the Shanghai rubber bubble of the early 20th century and the British plantations in Malaya, where indentured labour generated high returns for investors that funded them. The chapter notes the similarities in deal structure between these financings and those of the dotcom era discussed in Chapter 10.
Arising from disagreement with Rawls and Nagel, Parfit and Nussbaum, this chapter offers an alternative approach to conceptualize and to demonstrate the unfairness of exploitation predicated upon structural oppression. Drawing upon Williams’ and Cohen’s comments upon and contributions to moral and political philosophy, I point to ‘luck egalitarianism’ arguments as a more suitable model to identify, assess and direct interventions to overturn existing social inequalities. The underlying appeal of luck egalitarianism is to demonstrate that much of what a person seeks to claim as their own is contingent; what remains is the material dividends of social relations.
In western liberal democracies the police are viewed as guardians of public safety and enforcers of the law. How accurate is this? Given police violence and the failure of many attempts at reform, attention has turned to other models of managing criminality, including defunding the police and instead funding alternatives to criminalization and incarceration.
This book is the first comprehensive overview of police divestment, using international examples and case studies to reimagine community safety beyond policing and imprisonment.
Showcasing a range of practical examples, this topical book will be relevant for academics, policy makers, activists and all those interested in the Black Lives Matter movement, protest movements and the renewed interest in policing and abolitionism more generally.
There is an absence of systematic evidence internationally on the extent of police violence, including lethal violence, against people with disabilities and mental ill-health. However, we know from individual cases and research data that the problem is extensive. Some of the most well-known police killings in the US which spurred the BLM movement involved Black Americans with disabilities, as has also been the case with deaths of Indigenous, Black, and people of colour in Canada and Australia. There is extensive police intervention into the lives of people with mental ill-health and cognitive impairments, and policing is a key part of the disablist processes of state control. The policing of disability is not a new phenomenon, but it has intensified with the neoliberal contraction of social support and the growth of the carceral state. Further, police decisions affecting people with disabilities compound through the carceral system, often justifying more extreme legal measures. As will be evident in this chapter, it is impossible to conceptualise policing without understanding its dis/abling effects. Centring disability is fundamental to the Defund the Police project and abolitionism more generally.
Chapter 2 provided an historical setting to contemporary policing. How do police see their role today? Police define themselves primarily by their functions, including preventing, detecting, and investigating criminal activities, enforcing the law, maintaining public order, and ensuring community safety. We need to be sceptical of the ability of police to solve crime – rates of reporting crime to police are low and the ability of police to solve crime is limited. A distrust of police and the criminal legal system, an unwillingness to cooperate with the police, and various forms of racism and discrimination by police impact on whether people will report and whether they will be believed. Through the use of discretion, police reproduce the social boundaries of who is problematic and who is not. It is a power utilised at an organisational and individual level that is one of the core attributes of policing. It enables police power to be exercised in a targeted and economical way – it is the filter device of criminalisation. Two examples are drawn on is this chapter: the policing of children and young people, and the policing of violence against people from LGBTQI+ communities. Discretion and the policing of young people highlights the discriminatory nature of many police interventions, and in particular how racialisation becomes embedded in police practice – pushing racialised young people into the furthest reaches of the juvenile legal system. Police discretion also impacts on murder investigations. The research into police responses to the killings of people within the LGBTQI+ community strongly suggests a situation where negative perceptions of victim status reproduce heteronormative assumptions and normalise violence.
Through a discussion of how social inequality is treated in the liberal view of the world, this chapter asks whether the strongest form of liberal reasoning really deserves our allegiance. By plotting key contours of liberal social theory – which include the presumption of liberty, the freedom of consciousness and the necessity of representative government – the chapter shows liberalism as emerging from a particular philosophical anthropology and metaphysics of reason. Admirably, liberals resist reducing the person to always and nothing but this or that. But liberals have not given enough attention to how capitalism and its private property regime hinder the values that liberals cherish.
This final chapter stages a dialogue between the author and the stock exchange. It equivocates after Chapter 14’s abrupt dismissal of the possibilities of finance: perhaps there might be a role for new financial markets in very focused cases. It suggests a market in recyclable materials and a Scottish stock exchange as two such possibilities. The stock exchange defends itself against the book’s accusations: it is a social technology, a reflection of the society that created it.
Chapter 12 continues the theme of Chapter 11, with a focus on the financing of mining. It shows that neocolonialist thinking is still ingrained into contemporary mining finance, especially in the valuation practice known as the ‘discount rate’. It highlights the role of spectacle in finance, via a brief detour into the mining fraud of Bre-X. The chapter then moves to the construction of mortgage-backed collateralized debt obligations (CDOs), the financial device responsible for the 2008 crash, arguing that there are similar asymmetries of power and practices of extraction at work. It concludes with a return to the OFEX story, where the market’s founders suffer a failed fundraising and lose control of the market.
Over the last 50 years, there have been numerous high-profile judicial inquiries, presidential commissions, royal commissions, and national reports into one policing crisis after another across a spectrum of countries. While these reports have varied in terms of scope and specific content, there are many commonalities in the broad focus of recommendations, particularly in the need to change police through a suite of internal police reform mechanisms and improved measures for accountability. The key police reform priorities which are often identified (and endlessly repeated from one inquiry to the next) include enhancing community policing, introducing diversity quotas and recruitment initiatives, technical solutions such as body cameras, a greater reliance on evidence-based policing (EBP), and various measures to improve citizen complaints systems and accountability mechanisms. Added to this catalogue is recommended investment in an almost never-ending list of training courses: in de-escalation techniques, in cross-cultural awareness, anti-racism and unconscious bias, in the use of force and physical restraints, to identify signs and symptoms of mental illness, in community policing and community-based crime reduction programs, in responding to domestic violence and sexual assault, and so on. This chapter turns to the failure of reform and the problem of police reformism. The discussion focuses on the limitations of programs of reform in affecting meaningful change. Given the number of inquiries and recommendations and the failure of empirical evidence, research, or practice to show significant improvements, it appears to be a case of not learning from continual failure and instead doing more of the same over again.
The narrative segues to the investors themselves, and a discussion of decision-making as embedded in socio-technical networks. Chapter 10 suggests it is more interesting to focus on the mechanisms through which decision-making is made possible than on deviations from textbook rationality. Explanations here are sociological rather than behavioural. The chapter explores the concept of ‘distributed cognition’ by way of a hedge fund, and then moves to an account of the heterogeneous strategies of non-professional investors, identifying the strategies of ‘charting’ and fundamental analysis. A discussion of the GameStop affair concludes the chapter.