chapter
PART I Origins of the concept
Pages 6

Mike Woodiwiss’s chapter distinguishes between ‘limited’ and archaic conceptions of TOC. Whilst the latter has a long historical provenance, in terms of governmental concerns over the smuggling of contraband and consequent circumvention of customs and excise duties, the former has its origins in more recent policy discourse on the perceived threat from ‘Mafia-type organisations’ to the integrity of Western political-economies. Woodiwiss traces the frenetic policy-making activity on this threat, which occurred in international fora such as the United Nations, G7/P8 and European Union over the past decade, back to the domestic security concerns of the US Federal Government after the Second World War. In the context of the pre-war New Deal, Roosevelt’s administration had emphasised the opportunities for organised crime that were generated by poor corporate governance and the connivance of ‘respectable society’ and had, consequently, implemented reforms to reduce these opportunities. Post-war federal administrations, however, eschewed this focus on the inter-dependencies of licit and illicit business. Thus, in the context of McCarthyism, the focus of governmental discourse shifted to the threat presented by ethnic, ‘un-American’, outsiders, in particular from the Italian community, poisoning an ‘otherwise satisfactory’ political economy. The official imprimatur for this ‘alien conspiracy theory’ of organised crime was first given in the Kefauver Commission of 1950-1 and reiterated in subsequent Presidential Commissions on organised crime under Lyndon Johnson (1967) and Ronald Reagan (1983). Reagan’s Commission adapted this official discourse to acknowledge the increasing problem of drug trafficking as the principal basis for organised criminal activity and broadened the list of outsiders to include Asian and Latin American ‘cartels’. Throughout, the conceptualisation of organised crime as a problem of ethnic outsiders remained the same, as did the promotion

of law enforcement strategies as the most appropriate policy response. In addition to ‘pluralising’ the alien conception of organised crime, the Reagan Commission was notable for hypothecating US ‘foreign assistance’ policy to the control of organised crime and recommending that aid to drug producing and trans-shipment countries should be reviewed on an annual basis in terms of the extent to which these countries comply with US crime control strategy.