The Threat of Illicit Economies and the Complex Relations with State and Society

  • Vanda Felbab-Brown


The chapter introduces the multifaceted threat posed by illicit economies and repercussions in the political, economic, environmental and security spheres. It also discusses the relationship between the state and criminal entities, highlighting the ways in which this relationship can be far from antagonistic in nature. A number of case studies show the way in which criminal organisations and governing elites often develop a mutually beneficial accommodation.

The chapter explores the relationship between society and crime, suggesting that large populations around the world in areas with inadequate or problematic state presence, great poverty, and social and political marginalisation are dependent on illicit economies for economic survival and the satisfaction of other socio-economic needs. In this context criminal and belligerent actors become providers of public goods.


Crime Drug Hybrid State Society 

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Vanda Felbab-Brown
    • 1
  1. 1.The Brookings InstitutionWashington, DCUSA

Personalised recommendations