Crooked States: How organized crime and corruption will impact governance in 2050 and what states can – and should – do about it now

United Nations University, New York, October 2017.
James Cockayne and Amanda Roth

The central argument throughout this report is that, by 2050, organized criminal groups will use the extraction of criminal rents to play an important role in local, national and, in some areas, global governance. In some cases, they may serve as de facto governmental actors in specific communities, supply- chains, or markets—not only providing protection and services, but also dictating norms and offering meaning and identity to citizens. We explore how seven different areas of change will create new opportunities – and new constraints – for the extraction of criminal rents: 1) demography, work, and migration; 2) environment and resources; 3) fragile cities and urban governance; 4) vice markets; 5) cyberpower; 6) follow the money; and 7) policing and private protection. Finally, we reflect on the resulting strategic and policy implications for states.