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Article

Illicit Transnational Enterprises and the State

This article aims at contributing
to the current debate over the
effects of illicit transnational activities on
states. Recent avenues of conceptualizing
transnational organized crime call for defining
it as an economic activity with the
scope of profit, rather than a criminal activity.
Illicit transnational business activities
largely follow the trends in development
of legal business. The transnational
criminal enterprises emerged in parallel
to the growth of multinational corporations,
making use of the same opportunities
as legal business did. The article
discusses violence by illicit enterprises
and reviews current theoretical debate
on the linkages between illicit enterprises
and the state. The paper then proceeds
with an empirical analysis of the effects
of the presence of illicit enterprises
on state weakness. We have hypothesized
that weak states may have higher presence
of criminal businesses. The findings
generally confirm significant correlation
between the two variables. State fragility
is positively correlated with the presence
of organized crime. Testing these results
against empirical evidence partially confirms
the findings. However, this correlation
might be weakened by the observation
that the presence of illicit enterprises
alone does not determine state fragility
or strength.