Narconomics: How to Run a Drug Cartel

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What drug lords learned from big business

How does a budding cartel boss succeed (and survive) in the 300 billion illegal drug business? By learning from the best, of course. From creating brand value to fine-tuning customer service, the folks running cartels have been attentive students of the strategy and tactics used by corporations such as Walmart, McDonald's, and Coca-Cola.
     And what can government learn to combat this scourge? By analyzing the cartels as companies, law enforcers might better understand how they work—and stop throwing away 100 billion a year in a futile effort to win the “war” against this global, highly organized business.
     Your intrepid guide to the most exotic and brutal industry on earth is Tom Wainwright. Picking his way through Andean cocaine fields, Central American prisons, Colorado pot shops, and the online drug dens of the Dark Web, Wainwright provides a fresh, innovative look into the drug trade and its 250 million customers.
     The cast of characters includes “Bin Laden,” the Bolivian coca guide; “Old Lin,” the Salvadoran gang leader; “Starboy,” the millionaire New Zealand pill maker; and a cozy Mexican grandmother who cooks blueberry pancakes while plotting murder. Along with presidents, cops, and teenage hitmen, they explain such matters as the business purpose for head-to-toe tattoos, how gangs decide whether to compete or collude, and why cartels care a surprising amount about corporate social responsibility.
More than just an investigation of how drug cartels do business, Narconomics is also a blueprint for how to defeat them.
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About the author

Tom Wainwright is the homepage editor of The Economist. Until 2012 he was the Mexico City correspondent of The Economist, covering Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean, as well as parts of South America and the United States border region. He has freelanced for newspapers including the London Times, the Guardian, the Literary Review, and assorted other newspapers. He has a first-class degree in philosophy, politics, and economics from Oxford University. Wainwright lives in London, England.
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Additional Information

Publisher
PublicAffairs
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Published on
Feb 23, 2016
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Pages
288
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ISBN
9781610395847
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Language
English
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Genres
Business & Economics / Industries / General
Political Science / International Relations / Trade & Tariffs
True Crime / Organized Crime
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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Philip Carlo's The Ice Man spent over six weeks on the New York Times Bestseller List. Top Mob Hitman. Devoted Family Man. Doting Father. For thirty years, Richard "The Iceman" Kuklinski led a shocking double life, becoming the most notorious professional assassin in American history while happily hosting neighborhood barbecues in suburban New Jersey.

Richard Kuklinski was Sammy the Bull Gravano's partner in the killing of Paul Castellano, then head of the Gambino crime family, at Sparks Steakhouse. Mob boss John Gotti hired him to torture and kill the neighbor who accidentally ran over his child. For an additional price, Kuklinski would make his victims suffer; he conducted this sadistic business with coldhearted intensity and shocking efficiency, never disappointing his customers. By his own estimate, he killed over two hundred men, taking enormous pride in his variety and ferocity of technique.

This trail of murder lasted over thirty years and took Kuklinski all over America and to the far corners of the earth, Brazil, Africa, and Europe. Along the way, he married, had three children, and put them through Catholic school. His daughter's medical condition meant regular stays in children's hospitals, where Kuklinski was remembered, not as a gangster, but as an affectionate father, extremely kind to children. Each Christmas found the Kuklinski home festooned in colorful lights; each summer was a succession of block parties.

His family never suspected a thing.

Richard Kuklinski is now the subject of the major motion picture titled "The Iceman"(2013), starring James Franco, Winona Ryder, Ray Liotta, and Chris Evans.

"Without this testimony, we simply cannot grasp what is going on . . . Americans would do well to read [Gangster Warlords]." --The New York Times Book Review, Editor's Choice

From the author of El Narco, the shocking story of the men at the heads of cartels throughout Latin America: what drives them, what sustains their power, and how they might be brought down.

In a ranch south of Texas, the man known as The Executioner dumps five hundred body parts in metal barrels. In Brazil's biggest city, a mysterious prisoner orders hit-men to gun down forty-one police officers and prison guards in two days. In southern Mexico, a meth maker is venerated as a saint while enforcing Old Testament justice on his enemies.

A new kind of criminal kingpin has arisen: part CEO, part terrorist, and part rock star, unleashing guerrilla attacks, strong-arming governments, and taking over much of the world's trade in narcotics, guns, and humans. What they do affects you now--from the gas in your car, to the gold in your jewelry, to the tens of thousands of Latin Americans calling for refugee status in the U.S. Gangster Warlords is the first definitive account of the crime wars now wracking Central and South America and the Caribbean, regions largely abandoned by the U.S. after the Cold War. Author of the critically acclaimed El Narco, Ioan Grillo has covered Latin America since 2001 and gained access to every level of the cartel chain of command in what he calls the new battlefields of the Americas. Moving between militia-controlled ghettos and the halls of top policy-makers, Grillo provides a disturbing new understanding of a war that has spiraled out of control--one that people across the political spectrum need to confront now.
“Zero zero zero” flour is the finest, whitest available. “Zero zero zero” is also the nickname among narcotraffickers for the purest, highest quality cocaine on the market. And it is the title of Roberto Saviano’s unforgettable exploration of how the cocaine trade knits the world into its dark economy and imposes its own vicious rules and moral codes on its armies and, through them, on us all.
Saviano’s Gomorrah, his explosive account of the Neapolitan mob, the Camorra, was a worldwide publishing sensation. It struck such a nerve with the Camorra that Saviano has lived with twenty-four hour police protection in the shadow of death threats for more than seven years. During this time he has become intimate with law enforcement agencies around the world. Saviano has broadened his perspective to take in the entire global “corporate” entity that is the drug trade in cooperation with law enforcement officials, who have fed him information and sources and used him to guide their own thinking and tactics. Saviano has used this extraordinary access to feed his own groundbreaking reportage.

The result is a truly amazing and harrowing synthesis of intimate literary narrative and geopolitical analysis of one of the most powerful dark forces in the global economy. In Zero Zero Zero, Saviano tracks the shift in the cocaine trade’s axis of power, from Colombia to Mexico, and relates how the Latin American cartels and gangs have forged alliances, first with the Italian crime syndicates, then with the Russians, Africans, and others. On the one hand, he charts an astonishing increase in sophistication and diversification as these criminal entities diversify into many other products and markets. On the other, he reveals the threat of violence to protect and extend power and how the nature of the violence has grown steadily more appalling.


Saviano is a journalist of rare courage and a thinker of impressive intellectual depth and moral imagination, able to see the connections between far-flung phenomena and bind them into a single epic story. Most drug-war narratives feel safely removed from our own lives; Saviano offers no such comfort. As heart racing as it is heady, Zero Zero Zero is a fusion of a variety of disparate genres into a brilliant new form that can only be called Savianoesque.

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