Lesandre's Reviews > McMafia: A Journey Through the Global Criminal Underworld

McMafia by Misha Glenny
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's review
Nov 15, 2008

Read in January, 2009

The comparisons among global crime syndicates and their particular commodities (be it protection or trafficking of humans and goods) was insightful. In the latter 100 pages, Glenny reveals his main theme relating specifically to drug production and trafficking. This is the greatest source of revenue for transnational organized crime. Since the "War on Drugs" inception in the 1990s, drug usage has actually increased worldwide, creating an even greater demand and greater profits in the black market. The illegality of drugs keeps the majority of organized crime in business and provides an incentive for more to spring up. This illicit "shadow" economy also plays into the hands of the licit and somewhat regulated corporatocracy (to use John Perkins' word), funding a "War on Terror" that makes a lot of money for a few but ultimately exacerbates the problems.

To realize that drugs are like diamonds was eye-opening. Drugs aren't bad because they're illegal, immoral, or detrimental to one's body; they're bad because they're covered in blood and misery the world over. As Glenny sums up in his epilogue, "By using prohibited narcotics, consumers are not only contributing to huge criminal profits, they bear an indirect responsibility for the trail of blood that marks every stage of the drugs' journey." (343) Once again I am reminded that my most powerful vote is not at the polls, but every day with my dollar (or perhaps, soon, the Amero).

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