Christopher McKenna: A Global History of White Collar Crime

south sea bubble edward ward wikimedia

Christopher McKenna's research project is on the global history of white-collar crime since the late 17th century. Weaving examples of infamous scandals involving individuals stealing from both for-profit and non-profit organisations, McKenna traces the successive regulatory responses to these scandals and the resulting immoral activities that arose as a consequence of what were presumed to be benign regulatory innovations. Beginning with the Mississippi and South Sea Bubbles of the early 18th century, and successively examining French intellectual property theft in textiles, the commingling of funds within a leading American university, embezzlement from British banks, nepotism in American life insurance, Ponzi schemes in Swedish-led cartels, tax evasion in the Caribbean, bribery during the Watergate scandal, insider trading on Wall Street, accounting fraud in Italy and India, and cybercrime in Russia, McKenna's global narrative seeks to explain both the form of modern corporate governance and the emergence of business professionals as the private police force serving the corporate state. With several chapters already drafted, McKenna expects to complete the book, tentatively titled, Partners in Crime, as part of the global history of capitalism research project.