In response to Mittelman’s chapter on Globalized Crime, let’s investigate and unpack how our system of capitalism symbiotically profits from crime in our global societies and economies.
Mittelman argues “In the way they make money and manipulate markets across borders for their own gain, transnational organized crime groups are both a political component of, and a response to globalization.” As the world becomes increasingly globalized and increasingly captivated and overwhelmed by this thing we call capitalism, it becomes more prone to elaborate crime syndicates that are often vaguely disguised as legitimate business transactions. Especially with more and more “global cities” that are home to ethnically diverse populations, organized crime has no problem finding a front that hides them where no one is looking.
The title of the article I attached tells us that “Capitalism needs criminal syndicates and criminal markets,” but doesn’t do a beautiful job of unpacking why that is. Certainly, I can see why crime needs capitalism, but less so in the reverse. Capitalism breeds yearning, greed, excess competition, envy, and passion among humans transcending borders, classes, and cultures. When we combine this capitalistic greed with our tendency to look for shortcuts wherever they might be, the positive correlation of crime and capitalism really shouldn’t surprise us. Furthermore, global crime syndicates capitalize upon simple supply and demand. There is a demand for cross-border smuggling of peoples. There is a demand for drugs. There is a demand for arms. Transnational criminal organization simply capitalize on the demand for illegal trades and substances by following the rules of supply and demand, and in turn breaking the law.
According to the piece in the London Economic:
“In March 2010, the bank settled the biggest action brought under the U.S. Bank Secrecy Act. Wachovia paid federal authorities $110 million for allowing transaction connected to drug smuggling and additionally another $50 million for failing to monitor cash used to transport twenty-two tonnes of cocaine.”
Moving forward, I would like to gain a better understanding of how various agents of governments have conspired in such criminal activity.