Politics of the Illicit Global Economy


Scholarship on the politics of international economic relations has largely ignored transnational markets for illicit goods and services, even though such markets have a substantial impact on the global economy and state and societal security. State security agencies, organized crime groups, terrorists, and others interact in these markets as participants as well as aspiring regulators. The nature of transactions in these illicit markets is multifaceted. The illicit flow of goods includes products ranging from cocaine and heroin to human body parts and weapons of mass destruction. The illicit flow of capital includes a myriad of forms of laundered money ranging from cash and securities to electronic currency and currency speculation. Illicit movements of people include the smuggling of migrant workers as well as the trafficking in women and children for sexual slavery. The course will explore these issues with a specific focus on the challenges and opportunities that the illicit global economy poses to the nation-state.

The objectives of this course are threefold. First, students will learn the major theoretical approaches that seek to explain the illicit global economy. Second, students will learn the basic characteristics and mechanics of, and participants in, the substantive issue areas that comprise the illicit global economy. Third, students will learn to apply and assess the merits of theoretical approaches in seeking to understand patterns of participation and efforts to control the underside of international economic relations.


The course grade will be based on two exams and two papers. The midterm and final exams will each count for 25 percent of the course grade. The tests will be a combination of identification questions and short essays. Students are also required to complete two papers. The first paper (5 pages) is due on February 15. The second paper (8 pages) is due on April 22. The assignments are discussed in the course schedule section below. NOTE: late papers will not be accepted. The first paper will count for 20 percent of the course grade, the second paper for 30 percent. The direction of borderline grades will be based on class participation. Graduate students should meet with the instructor during the first week of the semester to discuss additional course requirements.

Students are responsible for completing and thinking about the assigned reading before coming to class. Class format will be a combination of lecture and discussion. When reading students should consider the following: what is the author's thesis, how does the author prove this thesis, what key concepts has the author introduced. If it becomes clear that the course readings are not being completed, the instructor reserves the right to add to the course requirements through the use of surprise reading quizzes. The successful completion of this course requires attention to both course readings and class lectures and discussions. Absence will be spot checked and academic dishonesty policies will conform to University and College of Arts and Sciences policies as described in the 2001/02 MU UNDERGRADUATE BULLETIN.


1000 point total: 950-1000 = A; 900-949 = AB; 850-899 = B; 800-849 = BC; 750-799 = C; 700-749 = CD; 650-699 = D; 0-649 = F


1) H. Richard Friman and Peter Andreas [FA], eds., The Illicit Global Economy and State Power (Boulder: Rowman & Littlefield, 1999); 2) Mark Bowden [BO], Killing Pablo: The Hunt for the World’s Greatest Outlaw (New York: Atlantic Monthly Press, 2001); 3) David Kyle and Rey Koslowski [KK], eds., Global Human Smuggling: Comparative Perspectives (Baltimore and London: Johns Hopkins University Press 2001); 4) Lora Lumpe [LL], ed., Running Guns: The Black Market in Small Arms (New York: Zed Books, 2000); 5) Jeffrey Robinson [JR], The Merger: The Conglomeration of International Organized Crime (Woodstock and New York: Overlook Press, 2000).


January 14: Welcome and Introduction

PART I: Dynamics and Players

January 16,18,23: The Parameters of the IGE

FA, Chapter 1 (Friman and Andreas-Introduction)

JR, Chapter 15 (Millennium Bugs, pp. 320-36)

FA, Chapter 4 (Clapp-Hazardous Waste)

January 25,28,30, February 1,4,6: “Organized Crime and Crime that is Organized”

FA, Chapter 2 (Shelley-Transnational Organized Crime)

JR, Chapter 2 (Getting Connected)

JR, Chapter 4 (The Maffiya)

JR, Chapter 8 (Remapping the Earth, pp. 169-84)

JR, Chapter 10 (The New Melting Pot)

JR Chapter 14 (Chasing Ghosts)

FA, Chapter 7 (Friman-Obstructing Markets)

PART II: Drug Trafficking

February 8,11,13,15,18,20,22

FA, Chapter 6 (Walker-Colombia)

BO, Killing Pablo-Entire

FA, Chapter 5 (Andreas-Mexico)

Frontline Video: The Godfather of Cocaine

First Paper: Due February 15 (200 points)

Topic: Drawing on the concepts of metapolitical authority and ability to control, discuss the Executive Order Establishing the Office of Homeland Security and the potential impact of this order on the illicit global economy.

The Executive Order is available as a handout on library reserve or on the White House Web Site.

Format: five pages (10-12 point font), typed, double-spaced.

PART III: Arms Smuggling: Small Arms

February 25, 27, March 1

LL, Running Guns-Entire

March 4: Review Class

March 6: MIDTERM Examination (250 points)

March 8: Avoiding Illicit Behavior in Research Papers

Spring Break: March 11-15

PART IV: Arms Smuggling: Weapons of Mass Destruction

March 18,20,22

JR, Chapter 8 (Remapping the Earth: pp, 184-93)

Frontline Video: “Loose Nukes”

Easter Break: March 29-April 1

PART IV: Migrant Smuggling and Trafficking

March 25,27, April 3,5,8,10,12,15,17


On the Border

KK, Chapter 2 (Koser-Western Europe)

KK, Chapter 4 (Andreas-Transformation)

KK, Chapter 5 (Spener- South Texas)

Video: Sorius Samura’s “Exodus”

The Chinese are Coming

KK, Chapter 7 (Liang/Ye- Fujian)

KK, Chapter 8 (Chin-Social Organization)

KK, Chapter 9 (Kwong-Labor Markets)

KK, Chapter 11 (Friman-Japan)

Sex Trade

KK, Chapter 3 (Scully-Pre-Cold War)

KK, Chapter 6 (Finckenauer-Russia)

KK, Chapter 10 (Demleitner-Law)

Control Revisted

KK, Chapter 12 (Miller-Employer Sanctions)

KK, Chapter 13 (Koslowski-Mulitaleral)

Second Paper: Due April 22 (300 points)

Topic: Research paper on an IGE issue of your choice. Your paper must identify and resolve a paradox (e.g., why does a certain pattern exist where we would expect a different pattern—given theory, past experience, or the experience of other countries, regions, issues).

Format: eight pages (10-12 point font), typed, double-spaced. You must use at least FIVE sources—NONE of these can be class readings and at least THREE of these must be books. You must explicitly cite the sources you use, even if you do not quote materials word for word. Citation forms can be footnotes, endnotes, or in text. Bottom Line: no cites, no points!!

PART V: Show Me the Money

April 19, 22, 24,26,29, May 1

FA, Chapter 3 (Helleiner-Money Laundering)

JR, Chapter 3 (Detour, pp. 56-63)

JR, Chapter 7 (Banking in New York)

JR, Chapter 11 (The Caribbean Cesspool)

JR, Chapter 12 (Bank It Again Sam)

May 3: Conclusion/Review

JR, Epilogue (337-45)

Final Exam (250 points):

Thursday, May 9: 10:30 – 12:30

Department of Political Science

Marquette University
Wehr Physics Building, Room 468
PO Box 1881
Milwaukee, WI 53201-1881
(414) 288-6842 (phone)
Visit the contact page for more information