Conversations with a Crime Boss: Doing Asian Criminal Business
45 Pages Posted: 5 Jan 2010
Date Written: January 4, 2010
Media piracy, in Malaysia, is organised through illicit negotiations between a dominant crime syndicate and consumers, street-corner gang leaders, the Malaysian police, custom officers and directors of the Malaysian Film Censorship Board. These key social actors who crossover class, race, religion, gang membership, and bridge porous legitimate and illegitimate commercial and political sectors of society establish a mutually collaborative relationship by negotiating their asymmetrical social capital, according to a conventional cost-benefit analysis. Contextual analyses of these illicit interactions identify criminal enterprise opportunities and plot the interactive progress of enterprise as it unfolds, against models of organisational and functional inter-connection. The dominant crime syndicate leader, whose perspective pervades this paper, strategically negotiates a cooperative relationship with corrupt regulators (1) to ensure the marketability of pirated films among consumers is unrivaled by legitimate suppliers, (2) to operate a profitable criminal enterprise that is uninterrupted by social control agents, and (3) to dominate the role of primary supplier of pirated DVDs and enforce order among other criminal groups within the illegitimate sector of society. In arguing the salience and specific business location of enterprise theory to appreciate organised crime and debunk normative theoretical frameworks of race, class, gender, this paper argues differing methodological frameworks to be a primary cause of the discordance. The ‘two-napkins’ methodology employed in this paper is shown to be more advantages over those of preceding studies where enterprise is the research concern. Interactive variant analysis enables rather than confuse as it has in the past, understanding Asian organized crime as business.
Keywords: media piracy, enterprise theory, porosity between legitimate and illegitimate sectors, 'two-napkins' methodology
JEL Classification: K10, K14, K30
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation