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Shadow Trades

Shadow Trades
The Dark Side of Global Business

February 2021 | 296 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd
Alongside burgeoning global business, which asserts its legality, ethics and social responsibility, there exists a dark side of shadow trades manifesting various shades of legitimacy.  Not only do the latter’s corrupt practices, dubious supply chains and other illicit operations run in tandem with global business, these borderless trades intersect with economic structures and contribute to systems adopted by corporations, endorsed by neoliberal capitalism, that are often condoned by governments and unwittingly sustained by consumers.  In a very real sense, all of us may be implicated in shadow trades through our work, consumption and citizenship.  

Even before we can begin to confront and constrain shadow trades, their business models first need to be identified and analysed in all their networked complexity, interconnectivity with global business and embeddedness within the world economy.  Numerous hard questions need to be raised around enabling circumstances and responsibilities of stakeholders, as well as the winners and losers resulting from business globalisation and socio-economic inequities within and between countries.  

Providing background, evidence and analysis on select exemplars of shadow trades, this book provides graduate students of business, plus scholars in the social sciences, together with practitioners and policymakers, consumer groups and civil society, with an indispensable resource for critical engagement.  Only through knowledge gained by research and advocacy for transparency can we begin to shed light on this dark side of global business, enabling all of us to grapple with activism against and collaborative action towards undermining all shadow trades.  

Amos Owen Thomas was a Docent / Reader in Marketing and International Business at Stockholm University until his recent retirement

Chapter 1: Charting the Borderless
Chapter 2: Darkness Enlightened
Chapter 3: Irregular Migration & Labour Exploitation
Chapter 4: Transplant Tourism & Organs Acquisition
Chapter 5: Resource Pilferage & Environment Degradation
Chapter 6: Waste Transhipment & Hazardous Recycling
Chapter 7: Arms Conveyance & Military Contracting
Chapter 8: Financial Sleight & Money Laundering
Chapter 9: Tracking Cross-Currents
Chapter 10: Imperative of Engagement

International business texts typically focus upon everyday corporate activities and the various political, legal, and cultural environments to which they must adapt.  These books do consider illicit practices, such as counterfeiting, that threaten companies, as well as some ethical, social responsibility, and sustainability issues, but generally tilt toward the sunny side of global commerce.  In Shadow Trades: The Dark Side of Global Business, author Amos Owen Thomas introduces readers to a wide range of much more controversial, often despicable, business conduct that flourishes on a worldwide scale.  Topics include exploitation of migrants and laborers, human organ trafficking, hazardous waste transhipment, the global arms trade, money laundering, and much more.  Thomas’ writing is engaging, and his chapters end with a variety of sources – research works, executive books, informational websites, and documentary videos – for further study.  Shadow Trades will make a nice supplement for international business, management, and marketing classes.

Terrence H. Witkowski, Professor of Marketing and Director, International Business Program, College of Business, California State University, USA

Shadow Trades takes on the existence and growth of illegal markets from a business perspective. Labour exploitation, organ transplant tourism, environmental crimes, waste transhipment, arms trafficking, money laundering, and related dark markets are examined, using available data and careful analysis of the relationships among legal and illicit markets, businesses, and government activity in alternately ignoring or facilitating this largely hidden activity. The consequences of this situation for legitimate business and broader economic development are discussed, as are the actions that might be taken to improve the contemporary situation globally. Good insights into some bad behavior, and the reasons why it continues to thrive.

Jay S. Albanese, Professor and Criminologist, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, USA

The legitimate global capitalist financial and business world lives in creative co-existence with its dark alter ego.  As this book demonstrates, these shadow trades haunt capitalism and complicit government as viruses.  These co-inhabit spaces with hosts such that management, healthcare and environmentalism have their converse in exploited labour, organ harvesting and waste dumping.  Amos Owen Thomas is bold enough to take a fierce analytical torch to this murky admixture in a book that will become a mainstream source for business and business educators

David Weir, Professor, York Business School, York St John University, UK

This book makes a great addition to the literature on CSR and Business Ethics, filling one of the gaps that have existed in management knowledge.  I believe that there are still no credible books in this area for education and training purposes on the market.  Dr Thomas’ book will certainly be a welcome addition to what we have now at business schools around the globe.

Samuel O Idowu, Deputy CEO, Global Corporate Governance Institute, UK

This is a very important book on a subject typically ignored in management education.  The author's unique perspectives and insights make for a vital contribution to our knowledge.  It is important for students and the general public to understand these challenges, so I hope the book gets some traction in academia and beyond.

Laurence Chalip, Professor, Director, School of Sport, Recreation, and Tourism Management George Mason University, Virginia, USA

Compelling and original, Shadow Trades exposes the criminogenic nature of international capitalism. The spectres of fraud, violence and coercion lurk on every page. Essential reading for all scholars of critical globalization studies.

Leo McCann, Professor of Management, University of York, UK

Driving directly to the heart of crime, greed and desperation, the author explains the interactions between leading world countries and companies profiting from illegal activities to economically disadvantaged countries mired in political conflict and military rule. Shadow Trades describes how UN, laws, international conventions and interventions are circumvented by ingenious yet, corrupt means to the detriment of every living creature on this planet.

Colleen Clarke, Professor Emeritus, Minnesota State University, Mankato, USA Author, Stealing History

Amos Owen Thomas addresses a fascinating collection of cross border business activities that provide a rich source of material for discussing business ethics and corporate social responsibility. By highlighting these examples of cross border activity that are either illegal or at the margins of social acceptance, the book provides a unique source for reflecting on contemporary international economic value creation with a dark side.

Johan Lindeque, Assistant Professor of Strategy, University of Amsterdam Business School, Netherlands

Professor Amos Owen Thomas's book on dark trade makes a tremendous contribution to uncovering an important phenomenon of economy that has been little known.

Tony Fang, Professor, Stockholm Business School, Stockholm University, Sweden

A very interesting and novel book on the illegitimate aspects of international trade. Arguably, economic globalization has accelerated the growth in international trade globally in recent decades. But, it is assumed that globalisation fosters only legitimate trade. Hence, there is not much consideration in the international business literature about the dark side of international trade. This timely book sheds a much needed light on issues such as human trafficking, money laundering, waste management and arms trade. It provides an excellent critique of the push and pull migration theories underlying these shadow trades and illuminates our understanding of the global human resource implications of these unsavoury/disreputable trades. A must read for academics, practitioners, government official, policy makers and  social activists.

Yaw Debrah, Professor, School of Management, Swansea University, UK

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