I’ve put together a research brief summarizing my recent work looking at 3 examples of emerging non-state power. These models indicate that many of the technologies enabling rapid, ad hoc global communication & collaboration are being adapted by criminal & ideological groups to grow international supply chains and build sophisticated financial networks. While there are certainly many non-state challenges in the current geopolitical landscape, in this brief I focus on the Mexican narcoinsurgency, the MEND resistance in Nigeria, and the nexus of illicit drugs & terrorism in northern Africa.
From the intro:
Cartels, militias, insurgencies, and terrorist groups leverage mobile communications & rapid collaboration to grow & manage globally-distributed ad hoc networks that overlap in complex international shadow economies.
Traditional state governance is being challenged by the ubiquity of personal technology and the rise of multinational corporate powers, ideological factions, insurgencies, militaries, militias, and criminal groups. Laboring under inefficient bureaucratic structures, over-reaching foreign policy, legislative deadlocks, corruption and co-opted representation, traditional states are less capable of governing in ways that support social welfare. As a result, communities, collectives, and distributed ad hoc organizations are being forced to innovate strategies for resilience & prosperity in ways that increasingly lie outside the conventional models.
These networks have become sophisticated enough to rival many corporations in capital & influence. Yet, unlike most corporations, they are wholly opaque & unaccountable, relying on illicit goods, drugs, and violence to grow their markets and remove obstacles to business.
This report highlights some of the more disruptive methods that not only seek to re-establish socio-economic influence and control in the face of great disparity, but also directly challenge state authority at levels formerly impossible for non-state actors.
Full PDF here (8 pgs).