Moises copiously documents how globalization and rampant interconnectivity has led to the rise of vast global smuggling networks. These networks live in the space between states. They are simultaneously everywhere and nowhere at the same time. He shows how these networks make money through an arbitrage of the differences between the legal systems (and a desire to prosecute) of our isolated islands of sovereignty. He also shows how their flagrant use of corruption can enable them to completely take over sections of otherwise functional states.By all accounts the amount of money involved is immense. In aggregate, the networks that form this parallel "black" global supply chain, have a "GDP" of $1-3 trillion (some estimates are as high as 10% of the world's economy) and are growing seven times faster than legal trade. These networks supply the huge demand for:
- Drugs (both recreational and pharmaceutical).
- Undocumented workers (for corporations, home services, and the sex trade).
- Weapons (from small arms to RPGs, many come from cold war arsenals).
- Rip-offs of intellectual property (from digital content to brand named consumer goods).
- Laundered and unregulated financial flows.
This supply chain isn't run by the vertically integrated cartels and mafias of the last century (those hierarchies are too vulnerable, slow, and unresponsive to be competitive in the current environment). The new undifferentiated structures are highly decentralized, horizontal, and fluid. They specialize in cross border movement and therefore can handle all types of smuggling simultaneously. They are also very reliant on modern technologies to rapidly transport and coordinate their global operations.
The similarity between these commercial networks and those of modern terrorism (my global guerrillas) is not incidental. These networks are optimized for the melted map we currently live in. There is also considerable crossover between these networks since terrorists/guerrillas use these networks to both fund and execute their operations - and - smugglers see terrorists/guerrillas as a means to free areas from state control.My suggestion? Get this book and reserve a couple nights in your favorite chair. Moises will provide you with a compelling and well written story. One that will certainly radically change your view of where our "flat world" is headed.