Policy Papers - April 14, 2007
Transnational Organized Crime: Multilateral Responses to a Rising Threat
From the Introduction: As the violent forms of authority buttressed by organized crime corrupt and penetrate state, social and international institutions, gaining increasing control over territory, markets and populations, we risk not only a crisis of state and international institutions, but also institutionalizing crisis.
All organized crime (OC) is clandestine, hiding in the dark “shadows,” because OC substitutes might for right, and coercion for capital. Transnational organized crime (TOC) uses the shadowy “sovereign-free” areas of the international system, where state control is weak or ineffective—such as war zones, cyberspace and private bank accounts—to operate. Operating in such zones beyond the reach of state-based crime control, TOC slowly corrupts and undermines state, social and global systems of governance. The growth of TOC undermines social, state and international controls on a range of public ills from political and economic violence to corruption, and from environmental harm to disease.
In this Working Paper, I examine the nature of this growing challenge, and ask what capacity there is to respond to it. First, I present three different conceptions of TOC we find in contemporary theory and practice, and examine the distinct policy implications of each. Second, I sketch the outlines of existing international capacity for responding to TOC, foregrounding multilateral mechanisms. Third, I explore scenarios for possible developments in multilateral responses to TOC.
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