I was recently listening to a podcast by Carolyn Nordstrom of her 2008 Franke Lecture in the Humanities, Emergent(cies). Nordstrom discusses the extraordinary power wielded by those in control of an underground economy of weapons, drugs, and human trafficking. Paul Farmer attested to Nordstrom’s extraordinary dedication to ferreting out the transactions that knit together so many imperiled and privileged lives. I look forward to reading her book Global Outlaws. This excerpt describes her aims in it:
I am interested in the intersections of crime, finance, and power in activities that produce something of value: monetary, social, and cultural capital, power, patronage, survival. . . . Public media focus on . . . aggressive individuals under the sensational banner of “crime,” yet this interpersonal violence constitutes a small percentage of the universe of criminal actions. Smuggling cigarettes brings in far greater profits and economic repercussions. Robbing an entire country or controlling a transnational profiteering empire is the gold standard of crime.