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Narco-cartels as MBAs Doing 4GW

[by Mark Safranski, a.k.a. “zen“]


Yale organizational behaviorist Rodrigo Canales has an interesting talk on the Narco-insurgency in Mexico ( which he correctly sees as having been as lethal as Syria’s civil war). While this won’t be news to close students of Mexico’s cartel wars, Canales explains how Los Zeta, La Familia, Knights Templar and Sinaloa cartel violence is neither random nor strictly criminal on criminal  violence but is used as part of organizational strategies to create distinctive “franchise brands”, amplify political messaging,  reinforce effects of social service investment in the communities they control and maximize market efficiency of narcotics sales and other contraband. COIN, 4GW and irregular warfare folks will all see familiar elements in Canales management theory driven perspective.

A useful short tutorial considering the cartels are operating inside the United States and their hyper-violent tactics are eventually going to follow.

5 Responses to “Narco-cartels as MBAs Doing 4GW”

  1. Duncan Kinder Says:

    They are marketing not only into the United States but also into Europe.  ( One of the maps he displays hows this flow toward Europe. )

    Cocaine flows across the Atlantic and up through the tiny, weak, corrupt, disorganized states of West Africa, across the Mediterranean and into Europe.   Spain, Italy, through Greece and the Balkans.

    Largely as a result of Quadaffi’s overthrow, the Sahara has morphed into this huge Sherwood Forest harboring all sorts of illicit activities.  Visualize organizations such as this ensconced just south of Europe.  This is hapenning now.

  2. zen Says:

    Hi Duncan,
    I think, though i have some scientist friends who can probably express this more precisely than I can and explain why, that entropy is “catching” or contagious. Destabilization can be mestatic and be so in ways that are alinear and basically unpredictable. That’s great if one can leverage this phenomena against a faraway enemy, not so good when it is close to home

  3. carl Says:

    What do you guys think of the rise of the self defence groups in Mexico?

  4. zen Says:

    Personally, where they are authentic loyalist paramilitary citizen self-defense groups, I am supportive of them and can hardly blame them. 
     Ultimately, if they proliferate, you will get a situ like in Colombia when the self-defense groups tore the hell out of FARC and ELN, some paramilitary groups took the place of the rebels as local bad actors and drug smugglers

  5. Charles Cameron Says:

    Indeed, Zen: enantiodromia!
    It makes modeling human futures a deliciously complex business. Maybe Oatley is correct, and Shakespeare can do it better than social scientists.
    Of cxourse, he was arguably a better than average playwright. 

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