In several parts of the world Feudalism has mutated into a secret world of criminals who levy unofficial "taxes" on both legitimate and illegal businesses, thus preventing capital accumulating with people who would reinvest it. Also called Organized Crime. India has Criminal Tribes, people outside the settled social systems. Probably most cultures have hereditary criminal families of one kind and another.

Mafia is characteristic of areas of stagnation such as southern Italy; Northern Ireland; New York City. Also found in Japan (Yakuza); and in Chinese communities (Triads). The Communist Party of the USSR and other countries can be considered to have evolved into a kind of Mafia. In Japan the deep depression is giving the Yakuza more power.

Colombia and several other South American countries are dominated by a Mafia problem, connected with the illegal drugs industry.

Is there a cure for Mafia? States dominated by criminal societies find it difficult to run a democratic political system, as the criminals buy the politicians. The money from drug smuggling makes them richer than all but the largest industrial companies. Democracy is supposed to eliminate criminals from power, but in several countries this doesn't happen. In Italy the Fascists are said to have suppressed it, but perhaps all the Mafiosi were in the Party - Mussolini nationalized the Mafia, and like Hitler, made crime a state monopoly.

It may be that Mafia is the result, as in Russia, of the market without regulation by a civil society, sometimes called Anarcho-Capitalism - business without law as in the former Communist countries.

Is Mafia's presence in the United States also a sign of lack of democracy? This can be argued, especially as the relationship between the unelected J. Edgar Hoover's partial dictatorship and the official government (6 Presidents) becomes clearer. He appears to have protected the mafia as a result of their power over him (they knew of his probable homosexuality and his cross dressing).

Mafia is also the monarchic or dynastic principle operating within a pluralistic society.

Mafia may turn out to be one of the most serious political problems, as its money can buy almost any legitimate business and political system. Pessimists (such as Denis Healey) argue that the real future of Europe will be decided by a battle between the Sicilian and Moskva mafias.

Interesting reading

Roberto Olla-The Godfathers

Misha Glenny

Last revised 2/06/08


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