Monday, October 22, 2007

Mafia, Inc.

From the front pages of today's Italian papers comes the news that the number one business enterprise in Italy is the Mafia, comprised of the various major organized crime associations Cosa Nostra (based in Sicily), 'ndrangheta (Calabria), Sacra Corona Unita (Puglia), Camorra (Naples), and other lesser players. Together they would account for 7% of GNP.

The report (in Italian, pdf format) from the Confesercenti (a national business association) makes for a very interesting read. The various mafias have branched out and embraced what the specialists call "criminal versatility." In other words, they have their finger in every pie. From the classic extortion (pizzo) of tiny businesses such as fruit and vegetable stands to collusive relationships with giant Italcementi. They have come into the modern age, allowing more opportunity to women and operating in cyberspace. In an ironic mirror image of police dogs, they have also taken to corrupting man's best friend to serve man's worst enemy, using dogs to intimidate, defend (themselves) and attack (others).

In the photo above, Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino, legendary Sicilian anti-Mafia judges, both assassinated in 1992.