McMafia by Misha Glenny


McMafia by Misha Glenny
McMafia by Misha Glenny

I don’t read as many books as I’d like to.  But I just finished one of the biggest and best that I’ve read in a very long time.  It’s left me cynical, angry and nearly hopeless – but naive no more.  The book is McMafia by Misha Glenny and it’s a global view on the shadow economy that parallels and, in many cases, dwarfs the “licit” economy that everyone is hemming and hawing about these days.

Anyone interested in the way the world works would be wise to read McMafia.  It reads like an entertaining briefing paper.  It only briefly lost my interest in the section covering the Far East mafia – an area in which I have no knowledge.  However, Glenny’s coverage of Latin America, Western Europe, the Balkans, Russia and the Middle East is riveting.  I’ll never look at a pack of cigarettes, DVD or call girl in a hotel lobby the same way again.

For those in McMafia, it’s not commerce, it’s “bizness.”

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One Comment Add yours

  1. Greg Cameron says:

    Misha Glenny’s “McMafia” quite admirably sheds light on the darkness, as it were. As an overview of worldwide crime, it is, for the most part, superbly researched and written. As a native British Columbian, however, I have to admit I was more than a little amused by his hasty generalizations about both British Columbians and Canadians(believe me, Mr. Glenny, I wish Celine Dion were not Canadian!). I’m also familiar with one of his sources for this chapter – I’ll refrain from wry comment. I found the sections on Nigeria, India, and (inevitably, from my perspective) Japan to be richly fascinating. By way of addendum on his chapter about Japan – a professional wrestler – Tom [Dynamite Kid) Billington I believe once described how the legendary professional wrestler and famous politician was talking with a yakuza member in the front row at an event. The yakuza member got up and slapped Inoki hard in the face – Inoki, presumably in Japanese, thanked the yakuza member and told him to do it again. Can you imagine? Of course, the iconic Japanese wrestler(really Korean) Rikidozan was intimately involved with the yakuza and was murdered by a yakuza member. They say the taxi industry is almost completely controlled by the yakuza in Japan. At any rate, Glenny is also fine in discussing the descent of South Africa into crime and depicting the murder-hole that is Columbia. Glenny tries to tie the growth of various forms of organized crime with the growth of globalization – sometimes more successfully than others. At one point, he suggests that the mobility of labour should be ensured as well as the mobility of capital. Hmmmm. I don’t think North Americans working in Chinese sweatshops would solve any problems, if I might engage in comic oversimplification. The ties between various business interests and organized crime could have been more rigourously pursued, in my opinion. He seems to approach the topic of cybercrime with some trepidation – he needn’t have worried. The chapter is fine. His occasional highbrow references work variably, in my opinion. Sometimes they illuminate, sometimes they do not. Once again, in the way of addendum, Mr. Glenny makes some suggested reading and viewing at the end. As a supplement to his chapter on Chinese organized crime, I recommend John Woo’s two ‘Better Tomorrow’ pictures – and throw in the non-canonical third ‘Better Tomorrow’ picture for good measure. Overall, the book comes recommended. One could do worse. Like join an organized crime syndicate….Greg Cameron, Surrey, B.C., Canada

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