Controlling State Crime and the Possibility of Creating More Victims

Jeffrey Ian Ross, Peter Grabosky

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


    Doing good and helping those who appear to need our assistance are widely accepted universal values held by many people, cultures, nations, states, and international bodies. Almost important is the sage warning that the road to hell is paved with good intentions, if indeed such actions are paved with good intentions. This idea, expressed as unintended, unanticipated, and unforeseen consequences (hereafter unintended consequences) can be traced back to English economist Adam Smith's writings on consequentialism (1759/2010), and has been more recently developed by American Sociologist Robert K. Merton's in his oft-cited seminal essay, "Unintended consequences of purposeful social action" (1936). Indeed, providing assistance happens in many domains, from the doctor who prescribes a medication to a patient, to a priest or minister who provides spiritual guidance to a member of his/her congregation, to a politician who helps a constituent deal with the unresponsive government bureaucracy, to a country that sens soldiers to a war zone to maintain a fragile peace. This chapter, however, is narrower in focus and specifically examines the unintended effect that can occur when countries attempt to control, minimize and/or eliminate state crime victimization in other states. Thus, the discussion is to interventions that are done in the international arena and ignores those that happen domestically. Additionally, this chapter is focused not on the issue of controls per se, but on the intended and unintended consequences of additional victimization of already vulnerable populations. In addition to clarifying numerous terms and reviewing the literature on this topic, we offer several examples where state intervention and controls have resulted in additional victimization. Unfortunately, many are not recognized as such. We conclude by recommending a more thorough analysis of this quandary than currently exists in the policy world.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationTowards a victimology of state crime
    Editors Dawn L. Rothe and David Kauzlarich
    Place of PublicationLondon, UK; New York, USA
    PublisherRoutledge, Taylor & Francis Group
    ISBN (Print)9780415639002
    Publication statusPublished - 2014


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