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Conference examines capitalism and crime

Thursday, June 01, 2017 @ 3:00 PM | By Paula Kulig

Globalization, corporate misdeeds and government inaction were front and centre at a recent two-day conference at Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto.

"Revisiting Crimes of the Powerful: A Global Conversation on Capitalism, Corporations and Crime” brought together experts from Canada, the United States, Britain and Finland, and their discussions are expected to lead to a policy paper that could be used by government officials and regulators.

Scholars examined “the global neglect of countries to hold corporations to account and the failure of laws to break beyond what is often called the ‘corporate veil’ to reveal the actual beneficial owners of international and national corporations,” Osgoode professor Margaret Beare, the event’s co-organizer, said in a news release.

The conference also honoured the work of Queen’s University sociology professor Frank Pearce, using his first book, Crimes of the Powerful, published in 1976, as a foundation. Pearce also delivered the keynote address.

"In many ways, the issues that Frank Pearce raised in 1976 are as relevant today as they were 40 years ago — or even more so,” noted Beare.

Speakers covered such topics as organized crime and corruption, capitalism and environmental risks, “wage theft” and globalization. Organizers received a grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada to explore issues and solutions to the problems of crimes of the powerful.