In minute detail, Misha Glenny’s 2008 book McMafia illuminates the byzantine outlines of global organized crime. Whether it’s pot smugglers in British Columbia, oil/weapons/people traffickers in Eastern Europe, Japanese yakuza or Nigerian scammers, to research this magisterial work Glenny penetrated the convoluted, globalized and franchised modern underworld — often at considerable personal risk.
The book that resulted is an exhaustive look at an unseen industry that Glenny believes may account for 15% of the world’s GDP.
Legal society ignores this world at its peril, but Glenny suggests that conventional law enforcement might not be able to combat a problem whose roots lie in global instability.
While covering the Central Europe beat for the Guardian and the BBC, Glenny wrote several acclaimed books on the fall of Yugoslavia and the rise of the Balkan nations. He’s researching a new book on cybercrime, of which he says: “The key to cybercrime is what we call social engineering. Or to use the technical term for it, there’s one born every minute.”
Watch TED’s exclusive video Q&A with Glenny: “Behind the Scenes of McMafia” >>
“Glenny is not afraid to put himself in threatening situations — one imagines his name is conspicuously absent from the Christmascard list of the world’s major criminals.”