In America we have an almost mystical love for organized crime in drama. Characters such as Al Capone/Scarface, John Gotti, Pablo Escobar as well as the numerous gangs and organizations they are know for riddle our cinematic and fictional ethos. Yet ironically, for all of our love of these organized criminals and the fascination of these illegal organizations, the motivations behind the global existence of organized criminals is distinctly lacking.
Here is a good foundation to start with to better understand what and how these characters and more really affect our lives.
1st, this is the interview that provoke me re-researching the topic.
journalist David Kaplan was interviewed by Terry Gross
2nd I recommend this TED Talk from another Journalist on the similar topic.
Misha Glenny Talks at TED
3rd I recommend this Google video on the topic which does a good job visualizing the topic and bringing it all together.
Nils Gilman talks at the Futurist European Conference
Optionally 4th piece. This article on GLOBAL ORGANIZED CRIME written 15 years ago but which is more detailed then the videos and gives you the perspective of the pre-terrorist era.
Optional 5th piece. This article by the Rolling Stone on How America Lost the Drug War which is more of a sub-topic but very relevant. It’s a useful, but in-depth description of how and why America’s drug policies have failed and will continue to fail in the current vain. It mirrors the understandings of the above lecturers/interviewees.
This map is seen in the Google video by Nils Gilman and is an interesting visual of the current trade patterns.