Hasdai Westbrook

Hasdai Westbrook is a writer based in New York City. His work has appeared in The Nation and The Washington Post.

Recent Articles

Global Gangsters

Moisés Naím, author of Illicit: How Smugglers, Traffickers and Copycats are Hijacking the Global Economy , explains how black-market networks have corrupted global politics. How is illicit trade a new phenomenon? First, the size. An indirect measure is money laundering. It has grown at least tenfold since 1990, reaching $1.0 to $1.5 trillion today, according to IMF estimates. The total size of the drug trade is estimated at $800 billion. The annual value of counterfeiting is estimated to be between $400 and $600 billion. But you don't need the numbers to assume they're changing the world. Buying a bunch of ministers in a lot of countries is not that expensive buying and influencing judges, customs officials, heads of police, presidents even. You can gain immense influence in Bolivia or in Belarus without spending a lot of money. But the central point is that this has acquired geopolitical consequences. The world is changing as a result of these networks. They're capable of operating...