ESSAYS AND STUDIES
THE CONNECTION BETWEEN IDEOLOGY AND ORGANIZED CRIME
The connection between terrorism and organized crime is one of the most prevalent threats to global security since the end of the 20th century, which is most visible in the cooperation between terrorist groups and drug trafficking groups. The main theoretical problem in the research of this relationship is how to explain the difference in the motivation for terrorism, on one hand, and organized crime, on the other. The motivation for terrorism is always ideological, and it is oriented to make some profound political and social change. On the other hand, the motivation for organized crime is material gain it derives from its illegal actions. The question that stems from this conceptual difference is – how do these groups, which are so different in their orientations and goals, manage to make successful cooperation? In this paper, the author will try to offer the answer to that question from the position of rational choice theory. From the rational choice perspective, the actors behave in such a way, which will bring them the most benefits, with as little costs as possible. Therefore, the author finds that the members of terrorist and organized crime groups also make their decisions based on the cost-benefit analysis. To test this hypothesis, the paper is primarily concentrated on deconstructing the concept of ideology and highlighting its main functions in rationalizing and motivating actors to actions. Ideology is a controversial term, its meaning varies from the set of beliefs in a general sense to a false consciousness which goal is to propel the interests of a ruling social class. Our goal here is to shed a light on these functions of ideology and to show that ideology has always been, and stayed, the tool for pursuing the interests of some social group, whether it be a ruling group or a group that represents some political minority. On the other hand, organized crime is seen as an illegal activity conducted by rational actors, to gain material benefits by using illegal methods like violence, the threat of violence, and corruption. After analyzing the concepts of ideology and organized crime, the paper highlights the nature and types of connections between terrorist and organized crime groups in reality. The author finds that both of these groups, seen as rational actors, have many reasons and interests in cooperation, like sharing knowledge and goods, as well as shared trafficking routes.
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