BOOKCASE : Rogue Economics: Capitalism’s New Reality


• Loretta Napoleoni
• Allen & Unwin
• RRP $35

Greed is such powerful and enterprising motivator. Entire nations, indeed now the world, are shaped by it. It underpins modern business and political performance, the practice of which is euphemistically called “rogue economics”.
According to Italian economist, Fulbright scholar and world expert on money laundering, Loretta Napoleoni, rogue economics is an umbrella term for black and criminal markets, but also for grey areas of economies that are not properly regulated. And it thrives in periods of political upheaval when financial entrepreneurs show just how how creatively opportunistic they are. We witnessed it in our own way back in the transitional 1980s when smart, and sometimes not so smart, operators made killings and even set up empires which endure today.
However, our flirtation with rogue economics pales in comparison to the outcomes of the collapse of the Eastern Bloc. Napoleoni argues, for instance, that there is an almost perfect correlation linking the spread of democracy and the rise of slavery, and that this is as true today as it has been throughout history.
The collapse of the Berlin Wall dramatically boosted the globalised sex industry, for example. Piracy, in all its forms, is everywhere on the rise. And money laundering, “a multibillion-dollar industry involving banks and financial institutions”, is booming.
These conclusions and many more, impressively supported by statistical and evidential analyses, fill the pages of this compellingly told black study of the human condition in action. Napoleoni also argues that the global market is rogue economics’ most dangerous conduit. On daily basis it delivers consumers the fantasy that we live in kind of ideal world.
Rogue Economics persuasively argues that we ignore the dark secrets of our global economic underpinning because we are “trapped inside the market matrix”, complex network of political illusions, commercial and economic fantasies.
The financial and political upheaval that now besets the world has happened before however and Napoleoni’s book, despite the dark findings of her research, is not without message of hope that we can and will overcome the worst excesses yet again. Rogue economics may be the underlying current of progress but, as followed the Industrial Revolution, societies can and do reject that prosperous lifestyles cannot be forever earned off the back of the exploited.
An unsettling reality compellingly told makes this book high priority on my list of things to comprehend. It is sad but fair commentary on tragic human condition. Greed drives the brightest and often the most exploitive thinkers and doers in our society. It is important to understand the manifestations of it.

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