Cornelis Roelofse, University of Limpopo, South Africa

Correspondence: University of Limpopo, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice, Private Bag X1106, Republic of South Africa. E-mail: Ten adres pocztowy jest chroniony przed spamowaniem. Aby go zobaczyć, konieczne jest włączenie w przeglądarce obsługi JavaScript.


Though organized crime is a very topical issue in law enforcement and criminological literature there is a dearth of theory to explain organized crime. Broad theoretical conceptions on crime as well as political theory undergird economic crimes in general. Theories such as white collar crime and alienation obviously are relevant and even specific to organized crime. Models such as those of Lea (2005 and Buscaglia and Ratcliff (2005) clearly addresses organized crime but this new theoretical conception, ‘The, Encroachment Theory of Organized Crime’, as developed in this article attempts to explain and contribute to the theoretical explanation of organized crime and especially how political embeddedness can eventually lead to a symbiotic relationship between organized crime groups, government and business. When encroachment has run its full course, a state may develop into a fully developed criminotocracy. A criminotocracy (a word coined by the author) is a system of governance where organized crime, government and business use the system and taxes for self-enrichment and manipulate the electorate and elections to remain in power. Where the first step in the strategy is to avoid the law, criminotocracies make laws and control the criminal justice system. They no longer have to evade law enforcement agencies, they also do not openly have to commit crime. They use political leverage and internal government processes to enrich themselves. Such hegemonic systems do not develop over a short space in time but constitute a carefully planned and executed strategy as explained in this article.

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