Drugs and Money: Managing the Drug Trade and Crime Money in Europe

Drugs and Money: Managing the Drug Trade and Crime Money in Europe

Drugs and Money: Managing the Drug Trade and Crime Money in Europe

Drugs and Money: Managing the Drug Trade and Crime Money in Europe

Synopsis

The phenomenon of psycho-active drugs and our reactions to them is one of the most fascinating topics of the social history of mankind. Starting with an analysis of the 'policy of fear' in which law enforcement is 'haunted' by drug money, Drugs and Money: Managing the Drug Trade and Crime Money in Europe offers a radical reconsideration of this highly contentious issue. In this intriguing book, Petrus C. van Duyne and Michael Levi expose an ever-unfolding series of problems: * the proliferation of mind-influencing substances * the complications of international drug regulation * the interaction between markets and economic actors, with the consequent amassing of huge amounts of crime-money. The social, cultural and economic aspects of this crime-money are explored, alongside the ongoing threat it poses to the legitimate economy and the state.

Excerpt

The phenomenon of psychoactive drugs and our reactions to them is one of the most fascinating topics of the social history of humankind. This is not simply because of the nature of the substances involved, or because of the criminal markets which developed after the putting into place of a global prohibition regime. After all, the organization of the drug market has many features in common with other clandestine markets, and when one has analysed a number of organized smuggling cases, one discerns much repetition. What is more fascinating is the various ways in which societies have tried to control drug-related behaviour, whether consumption or trafficking. For good reasons, potentially addictive and/or cognitively distorting substances are considered a threat to health, and some are considered to make users 'uncontrollable' as soon as they come under their influence. This evokes public fear and a need for control by the authorities, who have sought to reduce harm to others, and more contestedly, to reduce harm to the users themselves even when the latter do not agree that what they are doing is harmful to them. The historical conditioned reflex in industrialized countries has been to respond to these alarms by means of penal law and enforcement thereof. This penal law enforcement has unfolded in an increasingly international way, both within and (especially) outwith the European Union. The fact that we understand the term 'drugs' in this context as a signifier of harmful substances is a reflection of this. Otherwise it would merely be a neutral term indicating substances with chemical effects.

Nowadays, it is not drug-related behaviour alone which is the subject of control: drug finances are ever more vigorously subject to official scrutiny. This concerns not only law enforcement and intelligence agencies, but also the private sector who have increasingly been mandated (or coerced) to act as the conscripted intermediaries of public policy. Therefore this book addresses not just drug markets and related policy, but also the financial aspects of these markets. These financial aspects do not only concern money-laundering, which is a derivative of the criminal underground economy (and other profit-motivated law breaking). The finances connected to the drugs economy relate also to broader aspects, like the financial role of drug money

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