What is smuggling?
Smuggling typically refers to the act of transporting some object into or out of a location in a way that is against the laws of that location. There are a number of different ways in which this action can occur, and many different products that are liable to be smuggled from one location to another. A great deal of this activity occurs in the form of objects that are illegal in a particular country or region being secretly brought into that area. Smuggling is also often done to surpass any taxes or legal conditions placed on the import or export of various items.
Smuggling may be counted among the oldest forms of deviance. Legislation on smuggling dates back to at least 14th-century England, when the Statute of Treasons of 1351 made it a crime to import counterfeit money. From then on, smuggling laws were gradually expanded to cover many other goods. Economic and political realities have historically influenced the control of smuggling. Free-market economists, such as Adam Smith, were against any form of state control on the burgeoning capitalist economy and approved of smugglers as rational free-market entrepreneurs. However, the legal reality was such that strict laws and harsh penalties were proclaimed against smugglers. Clearly betraying the strong economic motives of national states in seeking revenues, the typical punishment for smuggling was that the smuggled goods were liable to forfeiture and a fine was imposed on the smuggler. Also relevant from the historical viewpoint is that penalties were not only harsh, but also ineffective, as smuggling was practiced widely.
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