The Mafia As A Corporation

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The Mafia As A Corporation

Violence, blackmail and corruption as business terms, one would doubtfully consider them commonplace, but in the Mafia, nothing is. Looking at the history surrounding the Mafia, and the motivations apparent for its unconventional practices will lead one to realize that it is much more a union aimed at entrepreneurial success than the more common notion that it is simply a malicious group of amoral villains, anxious to wreak havoc. For decades the Italian-American Mafia has employed violent to achieve success in a capitalistic sense. “The Mafia has changed a great deal since the days of the peasant uprisings in sun-baked Sicily. It has found a place within its ranks for business-school graduates, and it has adopted modern banking methods and invested in legitimate corporate ventures.” The Mafia, also known as La Cosa Nostra, is generally composed of Italians or Italian-Americans that work together as entrepreneurial criminals. La Cosa Nostra literally means “The thing ours” but is loosely translated as “our thing.” The Mafia traces its roots back to Sicily, Italy in the 9th century AD when its purpose was to guard the feudal estates of wealthy landlords. When members of the Sicilian Mafia immigrated to the United States they initially excelled in extortion, but soon adopted gambling and prostitution as business ventures. In order to understand the role the Mafia has played in the United States, it is first necessary to study the formation and role of the Mafia in Italy.

The Sicilian Mafia is said to have formed around the ninth century when Arabic tribes invaded Sicily. Native Italians were forced into hiding, taking to the hills and mountains in order to stay safe. The Sicilian Mafia formed to protect Italians from the invaders, and eventually rid the region of its unwelcome foreign foes. At this point, Mafiosi (individual members of the Mafia) essentially became middlemen for business transactions in their particular city or town. In his book The Sicilian Mafia, Diego Gambetta describes the process “When the butcher comes to me to buy an animal, he knows that I want to cheat him. But I know that he wants to cheat me. Thus we need, say, Peppe [that is, a third party] to make us agree. And we both pay Peppe a percentage of the deal.” This method has many implications. “Peppe” is trusted by both the con...

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...expertise into other fields. With this expansion came the fame and fortune that has made the American Mafia famous in the United States. In time, the Mafia honed their skills, and aligned them with common legitimate businesses practices, which has separated them from common criminals, and allowed themselves to excel.

Bibliography

1.)Firoentin, Gianluca and Peltzman, Sam. 1995. The Economics of Organised Crime. The Press Syndicate of the University of Cambridge

2.)Gage, Nicholas. 1971. The Mafia is not an Equal Opportunity Employer. Nicholas Gage

3.)Gambetta, Diego. 1993. The Sicilian Mafia. The president and Fellows of Harvard College.

4.)Mangione, Jerre and Morreale, Ben. 1992. “Who’s afraid of La Mano Nera, ‘The Black Hand?’” New York, Harper Collins. http://organizedcrime.about.com/gi/dynamic/offsite.htm?site=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.mindspring.com%2F%7Ehistoric-ny%2Fblackhand.htm

5.)Nelli, Humbert S. 1976. The Business of Crime: Italians and Syndicate Crime in the United States. Oxford University Press, Inc.

6.)Pitkin, Thomas M. and Cordasco, Francesco. 1977. The Black Hand: A Chapter in Ethnic Crime. Littlefield, Adams & Co.

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