Destructive Impact of Illicit Trade and the Illegal Economy on Economic Growth, Sustainable Development, and Global Security   [open pdf - 155KB]

From the remarks of David M. Luna: "So why is there so much attention on illicit trade and the illegal economy? As Moises Naim underscored in his well-known book Illicit, 'Global criminal activities are transforming the international system, upending the rules, creating new players, and reconfiguring power in international politics and economics.' Moises penned those alarming words in 2005. Today, global criminal activities have transformed the system, changed the rules, and altered power dynamics across the globe. It is a fact that the global illicit economy is experiencing a boom thanks to a wide spectrum of illicit activities: narcotics, kidnapping-for-ransom, arms trafficking, human smuggling and trafficking, the trade in stolen and counterfeit goods, bribery, and money laundering, to name just a small cross-section. According to some estimates, the illegal economy accounts for 8 to 15 percent of world GDP, distorting local economies, diminishing legitimate business revenues, fueling conflict, and deteriorating social conditions. As some of our speakers will underscore, the reality of today's global economy is one of convergence. One in which legal business transactions and legitimate commerce both perpetuate and feed off the illegal economy; one in which illegal arms brokers and narcotics kingpins are acting in practice as the new CEOs and venture capitalists. From Wall Street to other financial centers across the globe, illicit networks are infiltrating and corrupting licit markets, reducing productivity, and dis-incentivizing investments in research and development--not to mention, jeopardizing public health, emaciating communities' human capital, and eroding the security of our institutions and destabilizing fragile governments."

Public Domain
Retrieved From:
United States. Department of State: www.state.gov/
Media Type:
The OECD High-Level Risk Forum. Paris France, October 26, 2012
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