When finance met security: Back to the War on Drugs and the problem of dirty money

Anthony Amicelle
Finance and Society, 2017, 3(2): 106-23


When and how did the laundering of ‘dirty’ money become an object of public concern, debate, and ultimately policy at the intersection of finance and security? This article sheds light on the social construction of money laundering as a public problem in the context of the U.S. War on Drugs during the 1970s and 1980s. By doing so, the article also stresses the heuristic value of questioning the finance-security nexus through an analytics of public problems. Its aims are to: (1) avoid interdisciplinary debates around the finance-security nexus becoming trapped in a zero-sum game between the ‘securitization of finance’ and the ‘financialization of security’; and (2) understand better the emergence, re-configuration, and internal tensions of social spaces at the interface of finance and security.

Research articles