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TCOs

24 March 2009

I’d never seen the acronym “TCO” until this morning.  It stands for “Transnational Criminal Organization”.  Bloggings by Boz explains:

In the US, our business news and economic debate often focuses on the giant multinationals, the “too-big-to-fail” banks and corporate earnings. We know that most new jobs and a huge percentage of our economy rely on small businesses and self-employment, but we can’t help but focus on the big fish.

Cartels are the same way.

Intelligence agencies, law enforcement and the media necessarily focus on the big fish. Pablo Escobar’s Medellin Cartel in the 90’s or Guzman’s Sinaloa Cartel operations in Mexico today dominate our discussion of the illicit trafficking industry. Yet, analytically, we know that the vast majority of transnational criminal activity is committed by “small businesses” and individual entrepreneurs trying to make a living in a tough environment…

One could, I suppose, note the transnational security company Blackwater recently changed its name to Xe … pronounced like the English letter “Z”. There’s already a business organization in the transnational security business that uses the Spanish-language pronunciation of the letter Z, called “los Zetas.” But be it far from me to draw a comparison between two organizations that happen to be in the same kind of business.

Anyway… it raises some interesting questions. Are Chapo and Company “too big to fail” — where breaking them up will create economic difficulties unrelated to their own business, or are the narcotics transport industry healthier in the long run when the cartels are broken up (and do we call breaking up the cartels “mis-trust busting”? Or, perhaps we should call bank re-regulations “The War On something”).

One Comment leave one →
  1. 24 March 2009 2:17 pm

    What’s funny is that in the original draft I had a line that said, “Cartels cannot become too-big-to-fail. In fact, the history of cartels shows that once they become too large, they hit a tipping point and collapse within a few years.” That whole section got deleted during the editing.

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