Saturday, October 29, 2011

Crime proceeds account for 3.6% of world economic output -- double Mexico's GDP

Gross Domestic Product (GDP) represents the value of all goods produced and services delivered by a nation's economy during a year. Every country has a GDP.

An October report by the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime says that in 2009, criminal activity generated about $2.1 trillion USD, or roughly 3.6% of worldwide GDP. By way of comparison, the United Sates has a GDP of about $15 trillion, approximately one fourth of the world's total (estimated at over $60 trillion USD).

Mexico currently has a GDP of about $1 trillion USD, so its entire economy generates annually only about half of what crime around the world generates, based upon 2009 data. (Mexico refers to its GDP as PIB, or Producto Bruto Interno).

The U.N. says that about 75% of crime proceeds are laundered and then invested in legitimate business enterprises. International drug trafficking accounts for at least 20% of those proceeds, but other activities such as arms trafficking, financial fraud and human trafficking also weigh heavily. The report says that cocaine sales generated about $84 billion USD in 2009. Most cocaine enters the U.S. from Mexico and Colombia. The North American continent, which includes Canada, the United States and Mexico, is about 44% of the world market for illegal drugs of all types.

Important Note: Don't believe everything you read, even in major media sources. A story this morning on the CNN-Espanol website is what attracted my attention to the recent U.N. report. CNN said in its story -- several times -- that worldwide criminal proceeds in 2009 were $2.1 billion USD. I knew immediately that something was drastically wrong -- $2.1 billion is, relatively speaking, pocket change. So I went to the U.N. document itself, which says trillion, not billion. There's a fair difference -- $2,097,900,000,000 USD to be exact.

U.S. demand for drugs:

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