- New Horizons in Law and Economics series
Edited by Hans Sjögren and Göran Skogh
Chapter 8: Historical perspectives: Swedish and international examples
Dag Lindström INTRODUCTION Economic crime is usually discussed as a modern problem concerning the present society and its economy. It is in fact obvious that recent technological innovations, for example computer technology and new information tech-nology, have changed the conditions and possibilities concerning economic crime. Many typical examples of economic crime are not even possible to imagine during earlier periods of history. Such offences as VAT-related frauds, insider trading and illegal cartels are all created by modern legislation. Fraud related to VAT is on the other hand not a new phenomenon, in the sense that it represents a certain variety of fraud and cheating against the public revenue system. As long as taxes, customs duties and similar levies have existed, the economic incentives to evade such levies have also been present. Laws against insider trade and cartels can in a similar way be seen as a part of a long history of restrictions regulating the behaviour of different market agents. Economic crime is a field characterized by rapid changes. It is also a field with many unclear, conflicting and changeable norms. These circumstances make it even more important to study the changes and continuities of economic crime in a long historical perspective. As the economy rapidly becomes more international, so does economic crime. Different national systems of regulations, control and norms meet and maybe even clash. Attempts are made to create common international regulations. This makes it all the more important to understand the origins and the characteristics of...
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