Between the Lines

Between the Lines

40 years of books without bosses, 1977-2017

Capitalism: A Crime Story

By Harry Glasbeek  

Capitalism: A Crime Story

$19.95 – Available for purchase on March 15th, 2018

A mugger to a stranger, “Give me your wallet or I will beat you to pulp!” It is a crime.

An employer says to a worker: “Adding lung-saving ventilation will reduce my profit. Give me back some of your wages and I will let you keep your lungs!” This is not a crime.

Our assumptions about the world condition us to see these situations as legally different from one another. But what if we, the critics of corporate capitalism, instead insisted on taking the spirit of law, rather than its letter, seriously? It would then be possible to describe many of the daily practices of capitalists and their corporations as criminal in nature, even if not always criminal by the letter and formality of law.

In Capitalism: A Crime Story, Harry Glasbeek makes the case that if the rules and doctrines of liberal law were applied as they should be according to law’s own pronouncements and methodology, corporate capitalism would be much harder to defend.

  • Paperback / softback, 152 pages
  • ISBN 9781771133463
  • Coming March 2018


Harry Glasbeek has been a fearless, daunting crusader for the public interest in the face of corporate greed, corruption, and criminality. This powerful, readable book proves the problem does not originate with a few bad apples: it’s programmed into the DNA of a system that priveleges accumulation over human life.

– Jim Stanford, economist, McMaster University

This book is essential reading for anyone seeking to understand how the legal system has enabled capitalism to create enormous inequality of wealth and threatens confidence in the legal system. Professor Glasbeek forensically strips away the layers of legal protection accorded to corporations in their pursuit of private profit to reveal the harm inflicted on individuals and institutions such as trade unions that challenge corporate legal privilege. The value of the book lies in its revelation of how capitalism has become embedded in the legal system. Professor Glasbeek provides a road map for those who critically challenge capitalism to develop to reverse the imbalance within the legal system.

– Margaret Wilson DCNZ, professor of law and public policy, University of Waikato

Table of Contents

A way to fight back
Law’s self-portrayal
The flexibility of legal reasoning
Reprise: Tax minimization
Bases for criminalization in a liberal legal system
Coercion by means of formal, directly enforceable labour contracts
Cascading coercion—not by contract but by sheer economic power
The legal neutering of risk and assaults on autonomy
Coercion: Statutory regulations that permit assaults on individual autonomy
Summation and suggestions for action

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