This book is a comparative study of organized crime groups from five different parts of the world: Europe; North America; Central America/South America/Caribbean basin; Africa; and Asia/Western Pacific. Each part contains two case studies and a shorter essay, a vignette. From Europe the case studies focus on the Italian mafias and the Russian mafia; the vignette, on the Albanian mafia. From North America the case studies highlight the US Mafia and the Mexican drug cartels; the vignette, organized crime in Canada. From Central America/South America/Caribbean basin the case studies concentrate on the Colombian drug cartels and gangs of the Caribbean; the vignette, on organized crime in Cuba. From Africa the case studies examine resource wars and Somali piracy; the vignette, relations among international drugs trafficking, organized crime, and terrorism in North and West Africa. And from Asia/Western Pacific the case studies spotlight the Chinese Triads and Japanese Yakuza; the vignette, relations among international drugs trafficking, organized crime, and terrorism in Afghanistan.Written in non-specialist language, An Economic History of Organized Crime provides an original overview of a crucial problem of our times: the growing scourge of global organized crime. This book can be read with profit by the general public, but it also has value for academic specialists and professionals in law enforcement.