One of the more dangerous contemporary threats to the quality of life is the collaboration of the political establishment with the criminal underworld - the political-criminal nexus (PCN). This active partnership increasingly undermines the rule of law, human rights, and economic development in many parts of the world. States in transition are especially at risk. Despite the magnitude of the threat, there is little understanding of the security threats by the PCNs and how and why political-criminal relationships are formed and maintained. Menace to Society is the first attempt to develop an analytical framework for making generalizations about this contemporary scourge. Case studies of Colombia, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Italy, Mexico, Nigeria, Russia and Ukraine, and the United States by leading scholars and practitioners included here answer such key questions as: How do PCNs get established? How is a PCN maintained, and destroyed? What do the participants want from each other in a PCN? What can be learned from those who have successfully countered the PCN? The findings indicate that political, economic, and cultural factors play a significant role in the formation and evolution of PCNs. When the institutions of the state are weak, as in Nigeria and Colombia, it is difficult for the state to prevent political-criminal collaboration. A lack of checks and balances, either from civil society or opposition political parties such as described in the cases of Mexico and Russia, is a key factor. Cultural patterns tend to facilitate this kind of collaboration. Markets and economics, too, bear on the PCN issue. The supply and demand for illegal goods and services, not only drugs, in many countries creates a market controlled by criminals who need political help to "run" their business. Menance to Society will be critical reading for security planners, foreign and military policymakers, and political scientists.