Futuribles Journal n° 432

Économie, emploi - Institutions - Société, modes de vie

Organized Crime and Legal Markets

Par

Given its clandestine character, it is difficult to have precise, recent data on the economic significance of organized crime. The latest official data from the UN Office on Drugs and Crime are from 2009; at that point it was estimated that the cumulative total of criminal dealing represented more than 3% of global GDP. Ten years later, given the explosion of online betting in particular, and with other strands of cyber-criminality adding to more classical crime, it is highly likely that this percentage has increased. And, though it is clearly essential to combat this unlawful trade, we should also note that it occupies a place within the legal economy. While it receives little media attention, that place is nonetheless tangible. This is demonstrated here by Elisa Operti who has studied the role and impact of organized crime in the financing of classical economic activities and entrepreneurship. Her research, which she outlines here, actually indicates that organized crime may provide important support for traditional economic actors and certain regions, particularly in periods of crisis. This – perhaps unrecognized – aspect has to be taken into account by the actors combatting criminality, so that their fight can be adapted to the institutional and socio-political context in which it takes place.

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