Misha Glenny investigates global crime networks

September 28th, 2009

In this fascinating TED talk, Misha Glenny, author of McMafia, details the increased prevalence of organized crime since the fall of the Berlin Wall. Importantly, about ten and half minutes in, he focuses specifically on the deregulated global financial system, pointing to offshore banking as one of the biggest enablers of organized crime. He calls for new, effective, regulation – something he considers a necessity, and believes that it should come from the White House, pinning considerable hope on President Obama.

He also notes that in adapting to the recession, organized crime has “shifted their operations,” and have “invaded financial and corporate crime in a big way,” in addition to increasing involvement in counterfeit goods and cyber crime.

The talk emphasizes the size of the organized crime industry – estimating that it comprises 15% of global GDP – and the need to fully understand both how it functions as well as its often devastating consequences. Glenny also makes a connection to development, pointing out that researchers now fear that resistance that is developing to a malaria medication in Cambodia is the result of counterfeit versions of the drug, containing only low doses of the active ingredient, being sold online for prices that are affordable to the average Cambodian.

Written by Rachel Brown

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