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Transnational Organized Crime: An Imminent Threat to the Nation-State?

NCJ Number
JOURNAL OF INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS Volume: 48 Issue: 2 Dated: Winter 1995 Pages: 463-489
Louise I. Shelley
Date Published
27 pages
This paper reviews the characteristics and consequences of transnational organized crime, analyzes the nature of Colombian and "post-Soviet" organized crime, and discusses the basis for combating transnational organized crime.
Transnational crime is increasing and expanding rapidly and represents a global phenomenon that is penetrating political institutions, undermining legitimate economic growth, threatening democracy and the rule of law, and contributing to the post-Soviet problem of the eruption of small, regionally contained, ethnic violence. The disintegrative effect on the world political, economic, and social order transcends the enforcement ability of the nation-state. The threat to nation-states is not that of a single monolithic international organized crime network. Rather, the multiplicity of politically and economically powerful crime groups operating both regionally and globally is what threatens to undermine political and economic security as well as social well-being. There is no economic incentive for transnational organized crime to diminish, so it will continue to threaten the world order into the 21st century. Internationally coordinated legislative and law enforcement efforts must be supported. 62 notes