Essay on Economic Structure Of The Mafia

This essay has a total of 1233 words and 5 pages.

Economic Structure Of The Mafia

The Mafia is viewed by many people as a bunch of gangsters like those that they might see
on movies such as Goodfellas, The Godfather, or Donnie Brascoe. In all actuality the Mafia
represents much more than that, it is an entity within itself. The original Sicilian Mafia
was just a group of families controlling certain territories in which they each laid claim
to. These families were headed by a dominant male and were usually in competition with
other families. The members of these families would engage into various "illegal and legal
businesses with each other and outsiders" (Fiorienti and Peltzman 38). In the introduction
to The Economics of Organized Crime, Fiorentini and Peltzman claim that between the years
of 1860and maybe ranging all the way to 1957, the "Mafia was not a membership organization
but a natural outgrowth of culture, politics and law enforcement" (Peltzman 38).

Many have tried to eliminate the Mafia from its' "control" of the underworld and its'
stranglehold on politicians and government. Under the fascist movement in the late 20's
and 30's of Cesare Mori, Mori tried to eliminate the Mafia in any way in which he could.
This attempt at elimination was quite unsuccessful since the Mafia's base was so far
ranging. ""Arlachhi (1986 44-5) concluded in 1983 "there does not exist a centralized
criminal organized called the Mafia… The cosca mafiosa is a simple organism but a solid
one, without formalism or bureaucracy. Within it are neither statutory ordinances,
initiation rites nor courts of judgment"" (Fiorienti and Peltzman 38). This is in contrast
as to what others recognize as organized crime. In direct retrospect to his earlier
writings, Arlacchi claims that, through interviews with Mafia members, there is a more
formal organization within the Mafia and that the Mafia does have initiations.

The United States Mafia definitely was different than the Sicilian Mafia when trying to
generalize them. The American Mafia consisted of only around 24 families whereas the
Sicilian Mafia consisted of hundreds of families. These families were much larger than
their Sicilian counterparts and that the families were most definitely organized and
formal. " A detailed case-study of one of these families and its legal and illegal
activities as of 1970 (Anderson, 1979) found that the Mafia family itself was not a firm;
rather, its members entered into various businesses on their own account" (Fiorentini and
Peltzman 39).

The European Mafia was founded on a sense of loyalty and respect for culture, family and
the Sicilian heritage. The Mafia was in existence in order to protect its' member
interests and grant them freedom in business in exchange for absolute loyalty and
submission to the family as a whole. The Sicilian Mafia based their existence upon their
strong beliefs that justice and honor are for oneself to take care of not for the
government to control. Antithetical to this honor that is represented by the European
Mafia, the American Mafia consists of more cold-hearted thieves and criminals. Although
they based their organizational beginning around the model of the Sicilian Mafia, their
actual actions do not coincide with the Sicilians. It seems as though the American Mafia
sole purpose is to make money by whatever means possible.

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