Kleptocratic Interdependence: Trafficking, Corruption, and the Marriage of Politics and Illicit Profits
How fundamentally new and different is “organized crime” in today's increasingly globalized world? How extensive are the ostensibly expanding links between international organized crime and domestic, state-based corruption, and how significant a threat do such links pose? And why, since conventional wisdom suggests corruption and criminality are most likely to thrive where governance is weakest, and border porosity greatest, are many of the world's most significant transnational criminal networks actually based in advanced industrial (democratic) states? In this paper, Kelly Greenhill uses cross-national data-analysis to answer these questions. She demonstrates that while the links between transnational criminal organizations and domestic-level corruption are real and substantial, their effects are highly variable, both in degree and in consequence.
Although the symbiotic and strategic inter-relationships between corruption and organised crime networks are not themselves novel, in the new so-called “flattened” world, such relationships provide the criminal and the corrupt(able) new economic and political opportunities to exploit. The paper explores how these relationships also enable these same actors to attain new levels of prominence and power - which permit them to straddle borders, to scale the figurative and literal walls designed to keep them out, and to threaten both national and international security in a variety of innovative and unprecedented ways.
Citation: in Robert I. Rotberg, ed., Corruption, Global Security and World Order, Brookings Institution Press (2009) pp. 96 - 123