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Shadow Trades

Shadow Trades
The Dark Side of Global Business

December 2020 | 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 Crosscurrents
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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Amos Owen Thomas

Amos Owen Thomas was a docent/reader in international business at Stockholm University until his recent retirement and remains associated with the Emerging Markets Research Group of its Stockholm Business School. For almost 30 years he served at eight universities in Australia, the Netherlands, the UK, Namibia, Singapore and Papua New Guinea. In that time, he also taught and researched for short periodsin about 30 countries in East Asia, Central Asia, Middle East, Western Europe and South America. Prior to academia, Amos was employed or consulted for 15 years in business, government and non-profit sectors in a few countries around the Asia... More About Author

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