John Braithwaite: Criminology in a World of Increasingly Entangled Economic, Ecological and Security Crises

Cybercrime has become the most popular course in many criminology departments. Cybercrime prevention is relevant to cyberwar prevention. It is not wise to think of cyberwarfare as more benign than military violence. Cyberwarfare that disables defensive military systems could cause sudden escalation that might mean the end of human civilization. This means criminologists have an important new role in prevention of this kind of catastrophe. This talk is about how criminality is entangled in security crises, economic crises and ecological crises. In turn, these three kinds of crises are increasingly interdependent one with the other, and in ways that make it unlikely that existing human civilizations will survive more than a century or two. Australia should consider playing a catalytic role in bringing Chinese, US and Russian diplomats and technocrats together to help each other avoid accidental nuclear wars, to avoid the kind of criminal risk shifting implicated in the 2008 Global Financial Crisis, and to make environmental regulation and collaboration work more effectively to save the planet. Technically this is too risky a time for a New Cold War. The great powers have less to fear from the ambitions of each other than they have to fear from their failures to collaborate with each other on prevention.

John Braithwaite is a Distinguished Professor and Founder of RegNet (the Regulatory Institutions Network) at the Australian National University.

Since 2004 he has led a 25-year comparative project called Peacebuilding Compared (most recent book: Networked Governance of Freedom and Tyranny (2012, with Hilary Charlesworth and Aderito Soares). He also works on business regulation and the crime problem. His best known research is on the ideas of responsive regulation (for which the most recent book is Regulatory Capitalism: How it works, ideas for making it work better (2008)) and restorative justice (most useful book, Restorative Justice and Responsive Regulation (2002)). Reintegrative shaming has also been an important focus (see Eliza Ahmed, Nathan Harris, John Braithwaite and Valerie Braithwaite (2001) Shame Management through Reintegration). John Braithwaite has been active in the peace movement, the politics of development, the social movement for restorative justice, the labour movement and the consumer movement, around these and other ideas for 50 years in Australia and internationally.


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