Reconceptualizing International Organized Crime

Gary W. Potter, Eastern Kentucky University

Massive increases in international trade, travel, and finance, along with improvements in communications technologies appear to have drastically altered the form, scope, and structure of organized crime as we enter the 21st century. The key questions are whether these changes have fundamentally changed the nature of organized crime or the nature of the social threat emanating from organized crime. In order to address these issues organized crime must be reconceptualized and redefined within the context of international capitalist expansion. It is the contention of this paper that organized crime has changed very little. It is still composed of reasonably small, localized, highly adaptable organizations. But the massive expansion of capitalism in the late 20th century has brought with it attendant opportunities for new markets, increased economic and political corruption, and new technologies which can be easily exploited by criminal capitalists.

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Updated 05/20/2006