The Transnational and Sub-National in Global Crimes

44 Pages Posted: 7 Nov 2011

See all articles by Lan Cao

Lan Cao

Chapman University, The Dale E. Fowler School of Law

Date Written: 2004


At the heart of the globalization debate lies the market and its relation to the nation state. The global economy has made it easier for multinational companies to engage in transnational economic activities thus freeing companies from the restraints and “factor endowment of a single nation” and allowing them access to resources and markets across national boundaries. This shift has resulted in a fundamental transformation of the relationship between market power and state authority, in which the state is increasingly unable or unwilling to regulate the activities of non-state actors. As this Article explains, criminal alliances are both transnational and sub-national; although they operate transnationally, many are organized around common ethnic ties. Furthermore, the proceeds from such illicit operations may be laundered through the use of transnational offshore banks but also through traditional modes of money transfers, also organized along sub-national ethnic lines.

This article assesses the relationship between the market and the state, the rise of both transnationalism and sub-nationalism, and provides some observations about how the relationship between law and norms may facilitate or impede the effectiveness of anti-money laundering efforts.

Keywords: international criminal law, financial crimes

Suggested Citation

Cao, Lan, The Transnational and Sub-National in Global Crimes (2004). Berkeley Journal of International Law, Vol. 22, pp. 59-97, 2004, Available at SSRN:

Lan Cao (Contact Author)

Chapman University, The Dale E. Fowler School of Law ( email )

One University Drive
Orange, CA 92866-1099
United States
7146282659 (Phone)


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