Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Illicit: How Smugglers, Traffickers, and Copycats are Hijacking the Global Economy” as Want to Read:
Illicit: How Smugglers, Traffickers, and Copycats are Hijacking the Global Economy
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Illicit: How Smugglers, Traffickers, and Copycats are Hijacking the Global Economy

3.71  ·  Rating Details  ·  343 Ratings  ·  29 Reviews
A groundbreaking investigation of how illicit commerce is changing the world by transforming economies, reshaping politics, and capturing governments.In this fascinating and comprehensive examination of the underside of globalization, Moises Naím illuminates the struggle between traffickers and the hamstrung bureaucracies trying to control them. From illegal migrants to dr ...more
Paperback, 352 pages
Published October 10th 2006 by Anchor (first published January 1st 2005)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Illicit, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Illicit

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 775)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Sep 11, 2012 Lauren rated it liked it
The book is a little bit repetitive, but it makes sense in the context of the similar ways in which different goods and cargo, including people, are smuggled and trafficked around the world. It provides a good introduction to the many types of cargos which are trafficked, and more importantly how governments and legitimate businesses cooperate with illegal enterprises in order to boost the bottom line and make a profit. It provides a good introduction both into the world of smuggling and traffic ...more
Mar 28, 2015 Molly rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015
A solid 3.5, bumped up to 4 because I haven't personally read a better intro to illicit trading book.

Illicit offers a good overview of the scope of illicit trading, the depth of criminal networks, and the barriers to governments fighting illicit trade. The author does a great job of outlining the types of illicit trade, the motivations of criminals that make up smuggling networks, the forces that encourage these criminal enterprises, and the impact of smuggling on the economy.

The author does a
Jan 19, 2011 Caroline rated it it was amazing
Shelves: economics
A fascinating look at the global underground economy and how things like counterfeiting (of everything from DVDs to medicines to auto parts), drug trafficking, human trafficking, illegal immigration, arms smuggling, money laundering and terrorism are all interlinked, not only with each other, but with the legitimate global economy as well. The book is an easy and interesting read and very well researched. Not just for econ geeks and policy wonks, it's a good read for anyone who wants to understa ...more
Liz Alexander
Aug 10, 2015 Liz Alexander rated it really liked it
It's a little "old" at this point, having been published ten years ago, but I can certainly see why this book was "named by The Washington Post as one of the best nonfiction books of 2005."

Illicit is a total eye-opener to the alternative economy that mushroomed ever since "globalization" and new technologies made it easier for all kinds of traffickers and other criminals to ply their trade.

I agree with Dr. Naim that the approaches employed by governments, including that of the United States, ha
Amar Pai
Jan 24, 2011 Amar Pai rated it it was ok
Lacking in any real insight or detail. Like something you'd read in Time Magazine. Back cover blurb from Thomas Friedman says it all really.
Dean Hamilton
Nov 04, 2012 Dean Hamilton rated it really liked it
You probably didn't think, that time you downloaded an MP3 online or bought a bootleg DVD of the latest Hollywood release, that you were tied into one of the most dangerous and potentially destablizing political and economic forces on the planet...

Illicit by Moises Naim, takes a long, hard look at a new phenonoma in the international arena - the role of traffickers and trafficking networks in transforming politics, economics and borders. Naim, the Editor of Foreign Policy Magazine, has penned a
Jun 24, 2012 Shawn rated it liked it
An eye-opening look at how organized crime groups have atomized into specialized fields like corporations. Almost every process and leg of a criminal enterprise can be outsourced to contractors and subcontractors of slave traffickers, organ "donors," and brand counterfeiters.

One observation that author didn't explore nearly enough (until his interview in Foreign Policy magazine) was that globalized organized crime, no matter what lawless frontier they operated in, they necessarily have to wash t
Wish Vivek
Feb 14, 2014 Wish Vivek rated it really liked it
This book basically explains the adverse effects of the changes in economic policies at an all-encompassing global level during the '90s through references to liberalization & globalization and how the consequent aspects of this phenomenon have become intertwined with our daily lives and continue to influence everything around us even to this day.
Dec 13, 2010 Peter rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Illicit gives an in coverage of current global illegal trade markets.

The author provides informative and well researched information of global illegal trade of all commodities, and how financial and commodity markets work and fluctuate in response to changing legal and social behaviours. He also details the limtiations of various governments to control illicit trade, and finishes with a frightening but realistic speculation of the future.

Oct 29, 2007 Lady rated it really liked it
Shelves: news-politics
Good stuff - a really good overview of globalization from the perspective of law enforcement. Naim shows surprising links between different kinds of criminal enterprises - bootlegging and terrorism, for example. He also shows ways in which criminal activity is becoming more and more embedded not only in the international economy, but in the structure of some states.
fascinating look at the global networks that have risen, trafficking in drugs, people, weapons, garbage, counterfeit goods, money, and legal goods as well.

a look at how interconnected our world has become, some of the ways that traffickers exploit that interconnectedness, and what we can do about it...

Apr 26, 2011 Jamie rated it really liked it
An eye opening account of the trade in arms, drugs, humans, ideas, body parts, animals and every other imaginable item of value behind the curtain of international markets. Illicit trade will always exist, the question is when the world will shift its long failed strategy of curbing supply, to reducing demand.
Nov 28, 2007 Robb rated it really liked it
very interesting, but it repeats the same notions over and over, which is either a good way to ensure researchers get all the basic information no matter how limited their search and brief their reading. or, it is a good way to pad the book so it's a longer read and feels more substantial.
Jan 02, 2011 Jacqueline rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very interesting book about the major illicit traffic of the world. Should be read. It is obvious that illicit traffic cannot be stopped, too much of the world economy depends on it. Moises Naim is from Venezuela working in the US. He writes English well. He is a great speaker.
Jan 26, 2012 Katie rated it liked it
This is a topic that interests me greatly, and the book was filled with tons of information. I felt that Naim's style was quite repetitive though, and it was easy to get lost/bored. I think the book would have been more effective if it had been about 1/3 as long.
Dec 13, 2007 Lori rated it it was amazing
Shelves: recently-read
Covers the same theme as the Coen Bros. movie "No Country for Old Men". Tens of millions of dollars for illegal drugs, gambling,etc. are moving to global cartels, who are amassing power. Global cartels are time bombs ticking.
Thomas Fackler
A pain to read, but worthwhile if you can handle grimacing a lot. I found myself thinking about the current global financial endo and wondering how what Naim covers in his book (published in '05) will be effected.
Alberto Duhau
Apr 04, 2008 Alberto Duhau rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Amazing book by the Editor in Chief of Foreign Policy (Venezuelan). Analyzes the links amongst all of the different trafficking networks across the globe and the prevalecence of this practice worldwide.
Apr 26, 2007 Ben rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Good starter on the problem of the black market around the world, but in the end it's a lot like Foreign Policy -- just a start without a ton of substance behind it, making you wish there was more.
Isa K.
Dec 27, 2010 Isa K. added it
So far not impressed, more lecture than information. The details in books like McMafia and Red Mafiya (which cover the same topics despite the titles) made them much more compelling.
Aug 20, 2008 Jim rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2non-fiction, 1paper
A well written book that illustrates just how small our world has become & how inter-related we all are. I found many of his examples shocking. Well worth reading.
Steven Raszewski
Dec 29, 2013 Steven Raszewski rated it it was amazing
Scary book, highly recommended.
Fairly depressing outlook on these global issues. Although some of the statistics and stories were very fascinating.
Alejandro Hernández
Aug 12, 2009 Alejandro Hernández rated it really liked it
A good starting point for understanding the worldwide illicit economy and its links with organized crime.
Mar 05, 2010 Lucky rated it it was ok
Shelves: abandoned
I didn't get very far in this. I might pick it up again, but I didn't feel like it's written very well
Polly Callahan
PBS or frontline special highlights some of the key ideas
May 13, 2009 Björn rated it liked it
Very provocative so far.
Sep 25, 2007 Bbjoe rated it really liked it
Fascinating and worrysome...
penny shima glanz
Mar 11, 2008 penny shima glanz rated it it was ok
Became repetitive.
Kira rated it really liked it
Jul 22, 2016
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 25 26 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Global Outlaws: Crime, Money, and Power in the Contemporary World
  • Corporate Warriors: The Rise of the Privatized Military Industry
  • Brave New War: The Next Stage of Terrorism and the End of Globalization
  • The Logic of Violence in Civil War
  • Vaticano S.p.A.
  • Licensed to Kill: Hired Guns in the War on Terror
  • McMafia: A Journey Through the Global Criminal Underworld
  • Economic Gangsters: Corruption, Violence, and the Poverty of Nations
  • Poisoning the Press: Richard Nixon, Jack Anderson, and the Rise of Washington's Scandal Culture
  • Military Inc.: Inside Pakistan's Military Economy
  • Bringing the War Home: The Weather Underground, the Red Army Faction, and Revolutionary Violence in the Sixties and Seventies
  • Counterstrike
  • KGB: The Inside Story of Its Foreign Operations from Lenin to Gorbachev
  • Just and Unjust Wars: A Moral Argument With Historical Illustrations
  • Global Capitalism: Its Fall and Rise in the Twentieth Century
  • Fighting for Air: The Battle to Control America's Media
  • Reflections on the Revolution In Europe: Immigration, Islam, and the West
  • Tokyo Underworld: The Fast Times and Hard Life of an American Gangster in Japan
Moisés Naím is an internationally-syndicated columnist and best-selling author of influential books. In 2011, he launched Efecto Naím, an innovative weekly television program highlighting surprising world trends with visually-striking videos, graphics and interviews with world leaders which is widely watched in Latin America today. Dr. Naím gained international recognition with the successful re-l ...more
More about Moisés Naím...

Share This Book

“the spread of consumer technology has given the traffickers a boost and helped them keep the edge over their pursuers.” 0 likes
“the world market for cheap labor exceeds even the market for cheap sex.” 0 likes
More quotes…