Although England has an established church, few of us today pay it much mind. We follow an even more powerful religion, around which we have oriented our lives: economics. Think about it. Economics offers a comprehensive doctrine with a moral code promising adherents salvation in this world; an ideology so compelling that the faithful remake whole societies to conform to its demands. It has its gnostics, mystics and magicians who conjure money out of thin air, using spells such as “derivative” or “structured investment vehicle”. And, like the old religions it has displaced, it has its prophets, reformists, moralists and above all, its high priests who uphold orthodoxy in the face of heresy.

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There are crimes without victims and crimes without criminals. Financial crime belongs to the second type, as responsibilities for crises, crashes, bubbles, misconduct, or even fraud, are difficult to establish. The historical process that led to the disappearance of offenders from the financial sphere is fascinating.
In the Christian consciousness love for money was seen as a repugnant signal of greed and an obstacle to salvation: “No one can serve two masters: you cannot serve both God and Money”. This biblical precept, however, was accompanied by the ambiguous command: “Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s”. St Francis was well aware of the threat hidden behind this dictum, as Christians might interpret it as a justification to establish the separate kingdom of Mammon. Usurers, however, were deemed ‘financial sinners’, offenders whose earnings relied upon the exploitation of time, their finances being valorized through deferral. This was a sacrilege: time belongs to God. Eventually usury was able to move freely in the Christian conscience when, as historian Jacques Le Goff suggests, the invention of Purgatory made it a venial and redeemable sin.
There were no sinners or criminals behind the financial bubble caused by the Dutch ‘tulip mania’ in the late 1630s, when a bulb of the magnificent semper augustus reached the value of a Rembrandt’s painting. Nor was any form of criminal activity detected in similar crises occurring in Paris and London, where at most the culprits were identified as gullible investors who thought they could amass wealth overnight. Whether buying flowers or stocks, investors were the victims of ineluctable natural causes, calamities that they attracted onto themselves through their own idiocy and, as Jeremy Bentham explained, no legislation can be designed to protect idiots.
Later we keep encountering crises, not sins, let alone crimes. The UK Bubble Act 1720 attempted to regulate financial practices and prevent manias. But after it was repealed in 1825, railways, robber barons, and crooks became the protagonists of the century. The collapse of the Royal British Bank and the Tipperary Bank occurred while, across the ocean, the careers of legendary tycoons such as Jay Gould, Cornelius Vanderbilt and John D. Rockefeller were in full swing. Smaller operators or petty embezzlers were targeted, while leading businessmen were condoned. Those described as villains managed to establish a reputation as generous philanthropists, and as the wealthy Christians of the past atoned through monetary donations, the new rich set up charitable organizations. The blame for financial criminality shifted more decisively towards its victims, namely imprudent and insatiable investors who engaged in what were blatantly fraudulent initiatives.
Blaming the victims continued for decades, leading some commentators to equate financial crime to rape, and Positivist criminologists to coin the term ‘criminaloid’. How many ‘criminaloids’ were responsible for the crisis of 1929 is hard to tell. When Wall Street collapsed it became clear that innovative financial strategies had mingled with unlawful schemes, creating openings for adventurers and swindlers. In criminology the concept of ‘white-collar crime’ was forged, and offenders of high social status and respectability were finally included among its objects of study. John Maynard Keynes, who lost a remarkable portion of his investments during the crisis, described it as one of the greatest economic catastrophes of modern history, a colossal muddle showing how easy it is to lose control of “a delicate machine, the working of which we do not understand”.
The Marshal Plan activated after WW2 helped to rebuild the economy in some European countries, but simultaneously gave rise to illicit appropriation of large sums and the creation of slush funds financing political parties loyal to the USA.
The names of Drexel, Milken, Maxwell, and Leeson marked the 1980s and 1990s, when the prosecution of some conspicuous villains did not alter the perception that criminal imputations in the financial sphere are inappropriate. This sphere, it was intimated, contains its own regulatory mechanism allowing for the harmless co-existence of self-interested actors. WorldCom, Enron, Parmalat and Madoff belong to the current century, which reveals how regulatory mechanisms are sidelined by networks of greed involving bankers, politicians, and auditors.
The 2008 crisis, finally, proves how specific measures aimed at avoiding future crises are criticized or rejected in the name of market freedom. Commenting on the crisis, Andrew Haldane, an Executive Director of the Bank of England, inadvertently reiterated Keynes’ notion that knowledge of the financial world is poor and that not criminals but individuals immersed in uncertainty populate it: mistakes are made, but they are ‘honest’, not fraudulent mistakes, and anyone could make them given how uncertain that world is.
When the Panama Papers were released, rather than uncertainty, one certainty came to light: crimes without criminals occur in grey areas where tax evasion, bribes, money laundering, and all other forms of ‘dirty money’ constitute the hidden wealth of nations.

*Vincenzo Ruggiero is professor of Sociology and Criminology at Middlesex University in London. He is the author of Dirty Money: On Financial Delinquency.


Tra qualche giorno Enel dovrebbe staccare ai suoi azionisti un assegno pari a circa 900 milioni di euro. Si tratta dell’anticipo di dividendo sull’esercizio 2016, fissato in 9 centesimi per azione.

Chiediamo che Enel rinunci a tale dividendo considerando piuttosto tale somma un anticipo per i danni causati alle popolazioni abruzzesi.

Maurizio Donato
  • ‘Concordo pienamente e lo considero come un anticipo del risarcimento dovuto agli abruzzesi’,  tonino casolaro;

° ‘Anche a me sembra il minimo’,;

°’Buona idea’, Elisabetta G. Rosafio, Professoressa ordinaria di Diritto della navigazione, Università di Teramo;

°’Condivido’, Valerio Vallarola;

°’Sottoscrivo la richiesta’, Angela Musumeci, Presidente del Corso di Laurea Magistrale in Giurisprudenza, Università di Teramo;

°’Ottima idea’, Corrado Pasquali, Professore associato di Politica economica, Università di Teramo;

°’Mi sembra una buona idea, sì’, Omar Makimov Pallotta;

°Non solo sono d’accordo , ma bisogna rifiutare l’obolo offerto una tantum da Enel “x interruzione di servizio”, peraltro tra i più prolungati della storia Enel (8gg – causa “sfoltimento di ben 50000 tecnici + operai in 15 anni/perdita competenze-emergenza/nessuna addestramento- prevenzione/intervento solo post danno) e denunciare l’Enel per i relativi danni materiali e collegati, Vincenzo Miliucci

Why Socialism?

Albert Einstein, may 1949


Why Socialism?



Nell’aprile 2003 si svolse a Roma un Forum internazionale di studiosi e militanti di orientamento marxista che aveva per argomento “Il piano inclinato del capitale. Crisi, competizione globale e guerre”.

Estratti della relazione di Maurizio Donato, dal titolo No global war

No global war

Giovedì 3 dicembre 2015 – Ore 10.30 – Aula 13 – Facoltà di Giurisprudenza – Università degli Studi di Teramo

“Stati in emergenza. Immigrati, profughi, diritti, guerra”


come contributo al convegno il capitolo di un libro, dal titolo Solvere et ligare, pubblicato nel 2005 a cura di Francesco Zanchini

Conflitti, risorse e dipendenza economica


1. Iustum bellum? 2. Guerra ed economia; 3. Il dibattito sulle cause economiche dei conflitti armati; 4. Materie prime, beni comuni e rischi di conflitti; 5. Coltan, gomma e tragedie dell’umanità; 6. Ragioni di scambio, filiere di produzione, speculazione; 7. Conflitti per le valute; 8. Old economy e valute-merci; 9. E’ possibile ridurre gli effetti negativi della dipendenza? 10. Crisi e accordi di cambio; 11. Dollaro ed egemonia Usa: gli effetti della dollarizzazione dei mercati delle materie prime; 12. Il ruolo valutario delle materie prime strategiche; 13. Oil for food. (No) blood for oil; 14. Gli “aiuti internazionali allo sviluppo”: chi finanzia chi?

Conflitti, risorse e dipendenza economica (PDF Download Available).

Available from:

I parte: categorie fondamentali dell’economia politica. Merce, valore, lavoro, forza-lavoro, plusvalore, denaro, capitale. Dal cap. 1 al cap. 7 (compreso) del Libro I del Capitale di Karl Marx.

• Lezioni 1 e 2 (24 e 25 settembre): Presentazione del corso; l’astrazione, la merce e il suo carattere duplice.
in italiano: 1024.htm

• Lezz. 3 e 4 (1 e 2 ottobre): Il lavoro e il suo carattere duplice; la forma di valore.

• 8 e 9 ottobre: Il mercato e la misura del valore.

• 15 e 16 ottobre: Circolazione delle merci e metamorfosi.

• 22 e 23 ottobre: Il denaro: l’equivalente generale.

• 29 e 30 ottobre: Dal denaro al capitale: apertura del circuito, acquisto e vendita della forza-lavoro; creazione del plusvalore; chiusura del circuito.

4 e 5 novembre: riepilogo della I parte e I prova intermedia

II parte: il ruolo della domanda in un modello macroeconomico. Introduzione alla teoria macroeconomica di Ernesto L. Felli, pagine 6-32; 97-103; 129-153; 187-194; 197-229.

• Lezioni 15 e 16 (11 e 12 novembre): La domanda di merci e la misurazione del reddito nazionale.
• 18 e 19 novembre: Flusso circolare del reddito, crescita e ciclo.
• 25 e 26 novembre: Spesa aggregata e diagramma “a croce”, determinazione del livello di equilibrio del reddito, moltiplicatore.
• 3 e 4 dicembre: Economie aperte, bilancia dei pagamenti internazionali e tassi di cambio.
• 10 e 11 dicembre: Bilancio pubblico, regole e disavanzi.

17 e 18 dicembre: riepilogo della II parte e II prova intermedia

III parte: accumulazione e crisi. Dal cap. 21 al cap. 23 (compreso) del I libro del Capitale di Karl Marx.
• Lezioni 27 e 28 (7 e 8 gennaio): Accumulazione del capitale e riproduzione semplice.
in italiano 1024.htm

• 14 e 15 gennaio: Legge generale dell’accumulazione capitalistica, esercito industriale di riserva e crisi.

21 e 22 gennaio: riepilogo generale e conclusione del corso.

………..ulteriori riferimenti bibliografici……….

Gianfranco Pala, Marx: il valore della teoria
Gli studenti non frequentanti perché lavoratori e quelli fuori corso possono – se vogliono – sostenere l’esame su un programma alternativo che consiste nelle parti I e III del testo Introduzione alla teoria macroeconomica di Ernesto L. Felli.