Defeating terrorism and saving art: fighting the same battle
31/03/2021
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31/03/2021

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Defeating terrorism and saving art: fighting the same battle

The antiques market draws increasing attention both in Europe and in the United States 1 following both the unprecedented attacks on cultural landmarks around the world, and ISIS’s institutionalisation of “blood antiquities’’ looting (leading some to raise concerns of a“mass destruction market” 2 ).

More generally, there are also questions about the art market’s global functioning, specifically around its regulation and its weak compliance culture. Once combined, these elements pose explicit risks: geopolitic and security risk (terrorism financing, organized crime, etc.); diplomatic 3 and cultural risk (identity destruction, sale of stolen objects); various economic risks stemming from irrational, subjective and variable prices (money laundering, fraud, tax evasion 4 ), and finally the systemic risk for buyers 5 as fakes flood the market. 

Similarly to “blood diamonds”, only a global solution can solve such a global issue already exacerbated by the COVID-19 crisis (as demonstrated by the information from source countries 6 or online sales 7 ). The European Union and the United States, which both represent a tremendous share of the global market, are making significant progress. Beyond law enforcement, the question of a global and adapted regulation remains unanswered.

Notes

  1. Zachary Small, « Congress Poised to Apply Banking Regulations to Antiquities Market », The New York Times, 1er janvier 2021.
  2. Neil Brodie, MarketMassDestruction.
  3. Nikita Lalwani, « Regulating the Art Market Is Good Foreign Policy », Foreign Affairs, 14 janvier 2021.
  4. Greg Peterson, « Is the Curtain Coming Down on Criminal Schemes in the Art Market? », International Policy Digest, 21 janvier 2021.
  5. Fabian Bocart, Kim Oosterlinck, « Discoveries of fakes: Their impact on the art market », Economics Letters, Vol. 113, n° 2, 2011, p. 124-126.
  6. Lucile Wassermann, « Irak : le trafic d’antiquités en forte hausse pendant la pandémie », France 24, 7 janvier 2021.
  7. Carlie Poterfield, « Smugglers Are Using Coronavirus Lockdowns To Loot Artifacts », Forbes, 30 avril 2020.
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