Sovereign Display and Fiscal Techniques: Some Notes on Recent Strategies to Counteract Money Launder

Over recent decades, the state has come to increasingly rearticulate sovereignty at the very center of society. To support the thesis of a migration of sovereignty from the periphery to the center, from the punishment of marginalized groups to the regulation of economic transactions, this Article sketches the development of rules, monitoring, and sanctions—the three phases of regulation in the strict sense—with respect to first tax evasion and undeclared work and then organized crime, money laundering, and terrorist financing. Unbounded reasons of state, symbolic authority, and conflicts with formidable foes are found to be expressed in the economic sphere, which resonates with a reconstructed classical understanding of sovereignty, found in classical political theory. The spread of techniques across administrative domains is traced through organizational documents and interviews with practitioners and moreover is related to an observed trend toward integration between crime control and business regulation. The regulatory approaches transcend the categories developed by research traditions separated by the criminal law. In this way, the analysis may contribute to an integrated understanding of the contemporary regulatory state.

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