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Pick up a newspaper anywhere, any day, and you will find reports of illegal migrants, drug busts, smuggled weapons, and laundered money or counterfeit goods. Illicit trades are booming and so are the traffickers’ revenues—and their political influence. Hamstrung bureaucracies in rich and poor countries alike are losing the battles against these agile, well-financed, politically powerful, and ever-shifting networks of determined individuals. Religious and political zeal drive terrorists, but it turns out that simple profit is no less a motivator for political upheaval and international instability. Black-market networks are stealthily transforming global politics and economics.
Filled with fast-paced, vivid examples that are as real as they are surprising, Illicit shows how we got to this dangerous point—and stresses the interconnections between these illegal enterprises, how they endlessly recombine to breed new lines of business, distort the economy of entire countries and industries, enable terrorists and even take over governments. From pirated movies to weapons of mass destruction, from human organs to endangered species, drugs or stolen art, Illicit reveals the inner workings of these amazingly efficient international organizations and shows why it is so hard—and so necessary—to contain them.
Illicit ffers a fresh, ingenious and compelling vision of this untold story of globalization. It provides a powerful new lens with which to assess how today’s world really works and where it may be headed. Illicit will surely ignite urgent debate at the highest levels—and change the way you think about the world.
“Moisés Naím has identified a key issue, the fact that political order is rapidly decaying in many parts of the world, and that this decay is brought on at least in part by the same factors that promote globalization: fast communications, inexpensive travel, and porous borders. Illicit is provocative reading that makes you see the world differently once you're done with it.”
—Francis Fukuyama, Professor, Johns Hopkins University, and author of The End of History and the Last Man
“Naím succeeds in presenting a clear account of how illicit commerce works and what its consequences are...he sheds light on one of the most powerful forces shaping today's world.”
“Naím has gathered and sifted an astonishing range of information...Illicit is important reading for anyone struggling with the inadequacies of the "war on terror.”
—The Washington Post Book World
“Intellectually invigorating and accessible...it’s not solely bullets that are changing the world.”
"Mr. Naím's ambitions are encyclopedic. If someone, somewhere is trying to get something over on their government, he wants to chronicle their evasions"
—New York Sun