Economic Development: Threats and Opportunities


Economic initiative, by definition, is a human and social effort devoted to the collective wellbeing. However, economic development in general, along with more or less measurable benefits, may cause harm to people and the environment. This aspect tends to be obscured by advocates of the currently predominant philosophy (or ideology) known as neo-liberalism. This paper sets off with a critical analysis of the axioms of neo-liberalism focusing on the variable risk and on the harm provoked by economic development on the environment. Straddling legality and illegality, harmful economic conduct is then equated to a specific form of white collar crime, while an attempt is made to trace in the history of economic thought itself the embryo of a destructive rationale. After considering how harm to individuals and the environment is hidden through ideological strategies, the paper looks at some refreshing proposals to turn the threats of economic development into human opportunities.

Share and Cite:

V. Ruggiero, "Economic Development: Threats and Opportunities," Beijing Law Review, Vol. 3 No. 3, 2012, pp. 121-127. doi: 10.4236/blr.2012.33016.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


[1] M. Terni, “La Mano Invisibile Della Politica: Pace e Guerra Tra Stato e Mercato,” Garzanti, Milan, 2011.
[2] L. Gallino, “Finanzcapitalismo: La Civiltà Del Denaro in Crisi,” Einaudi, Turin, 2011.
[3] M. Douglas, “Risk and Blame: Essays in Cultural Theory,” Routledge, London, 1992. doi:10.4324/9780203430866
[4] N. Luhman, “Sociologia Del Rischio,” Bruno Mondadori, Milan, 1996.
[5] V. Ruggiero, “Invisible and Dingy Cities, in Movements in the City,” Prentice Hall, New York, 2001.
[6] J. Scorse, “What Environmentalists Need to Know about Economics,” Palgrave Macmillan, New York, 2010. doi:10.1057/9780230114043
[7] V. Ruggiero and N. South, “Green Criminology and Dirty Collar Crime,” Critical Criminology, Vol. 18, No. 4, 2010, pp. 251-262. doi:10.1007/s10612-010-9122-8
[8] M. J. Lynch, R. G. Burns and P. B. Stretesky, “Global Warming and State-Corporate Crime: The Politicalization of Global Warming under the Bush Administration,” Crime, Law and Social Change, Vol. 54, No. 3-4, 2010, pp. 213-239. doi:10.1007/s10611-010-9245-6
[9] M. Weber, “Economy and Society: An Outline of Interpretive Sociology: Volume 1,” University of California Press, Berkeley, 1978.
[10] C. Tittle, “Control Balance,” Westview, Boulder, 1995.
[11] J. Waldron, “How Judges Should Judge,” Belknap Press/ Harvard University Press, Cambridge, 2006, pp. 54-59.
[12] J. Derrida, “Force de loi. Le ‘Fondement Mystique de L’autorité’,” Galilée, Paris, 1994.
[13] V. Ruggiero, “On Liberty and Crime: Adam Smith and John Stuart Mill,” Crime, Law and Social Change, Vol. 51, No. ?3-4, 2009, pp. 435-450. doi:10.1007/s10611-008-9164-y
[14] A. Brisman, “The Indiscriminate Criminalisation of Environmentally Beneficial Activities,” In: R. White, Ed., Global Environmental Harm: Criminological Perspectives, Willan, Cullompton, 2010, pp. 89-102.
[15] J. Locke, “Two Treatises on Civil Government,” J. M. Dent & Sons, London, 1962.
[16] F. Quesnay, “Tableau Economique,” Macmillan, London, 1972.
[17] A. Smith, “An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations,” Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1976 (1776).
[18] M. Hénaff, “The Price of Truth: Gift, Money and Philosophy,” Stanford University Press, Stanford, 2010.
[19] R. White, Ed. “Global Environmental Harm: Criminological Perspectives,” Willan, Cullompton, 2010.
[20] N. South, “The Ecocidal Tendencies of late Modernity: Trans-national Crime, Social Exclusion, Victims and Rights,” In: R. White, Ed., Global Environmental Harm: Criminological Perspectives, Willan, Cullompton, 2010, pp. 143-158.
[21] J. Butler, “Frames of War: When is Life Grievable?” Verso, London, 2010.
[22] A. Sen, “The Idea of Justice,” Belknap Press, Cambridge, 2009.
[23] D. Runciman, “Political Hypocrisy: The Mask of Power, from Hobbes to Orwell and Beyond,” Princeton University Press, Princeton, 2008.
[24] B. de Mandeville, “The Fable of the Bees,” Pelican, Harmondsworth, 1970.
[25] M. C. Nussbaum, “Creating Capabilities: The Human Development Approach,” Harvard University Press, Cambridge, 2011. doi:10.4159/harvard.9780674061200
[26] A. Sen, “Development as Freedom,” Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1999.
[27] S. Latouche, “L’Invenzione Dell’Economia,” Bollati Boringhieri, Turin, 2010.
[28] J. A. Schumpeter, “History of Economic Analysis,” George Allen & Unwin, London, 1954.

Copyright © 2023 by authors and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.

Creative Commons License

This work and the related PDF file are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.