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McMafia: A Journey Through the Global Criminal Underworld Paperback – April 7, 2009
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Amazon Significant Seven, April 2008: In McMafia, Misha Glenny draws the dark map that lies on the other side of Tom Friedman's bright flat world. That connected globe not only brings software coders and supply-chain outsourcers closer together; it's also opened the gates to a criminal network of unsettling vastness, complexity, and efficiency that represents a fifth of the earth's economy, trading in everything from untaxed cigarettes and the usual narcotics to human lives and nuclear material. Glenny's a Balkans expert, and he begins his story there, with the illicit--but often state-sponsored--underworld that grew out of the post-Soviet chaos, but he soon follows the contraband everywhere from Mumbai and Johannesburg to rural Colombia and the U.S. suburbs. It's not just a hodgepodge of scare clips, though: Glenny reports from the ground but follows the leads as high as they go, showing how the dark and bright sides of the flat world are more connected than we imagine. --Tom Nissley --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Former BBC World correspondent Glenny (The Balkans, 1804–1999) presents a riveting and chilling journey through the myriad criminal syndicates flourishing in our increasingly globalized world, which make up as much as 20% of global GNP. Tracing the growth of organized crime—ranging from the burgeoning sex trade in volatile, postcommunist Bulgaria to elaborate Internet frauds in Nigeria—Glenny expertly combines interviews with key players, economic studies and sociological analysis. He argues that the chaos and political upheaval following the demise of communism in Eastern Europe, along with increasing demand in the West and the easy flow of money and people provided the perfect opportunity for organized crime to gain a foothold on the dark side of the globalizing economy. Glenny's achievement is in introducing readers to the less familiar aspects of global crime, from Kazakhstan's caviar mafia to the flourishing marijuana trade in British Columbia. Consequently, his interview subjects are equally varied: sex slaves in Tel Aviv, a co-conspirator in the deadly 1993 Mumbai bombings and top Washington policy makers share the pages. Readers yearning for a deeper understanding of the real-life, international counterparts to The Sopranos need look no further than Glenny's engrossing study. 16 pages of photos; maps. 100,000announced first printing. (Apr. 10)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Some of the specific examples (cyber crime in Sao Paulo for instance) don't feel as well fleshed out as others, but the overarching message seems to be that where there are under-served or over-regulated market, criminal elements will fill the gap. You can't fight it, it's inevitable.
It was pretty clear which areas of the word Misha Glenny was interested in compared to others, but I appreciate the way they've been woven together to tell a larger narrative.
While others have commented on how frightening this overall picture is, I have to confess that I found it kind of comforting. The real gangsters these days are the people on Wall Street running the entire world into the ground with the blessing of the world's major governments. The notion that there are still old-school criminals out there operating outside of the world is an atavistic idea at this point.
I recommend it!