Mafia as Government Essay

1149 Words 5 Pages
Mafia as Government

History and Introduction

The history of the Mafia began in the ninth century, when a secret society was formed to protect the people of Sicily. Sicily was occupied by Arab forces. A group of Sicilians fled into the countryside to escape, and later to fight, the encroaching forces.

This group became the Mafia

The group’s original intentions were to create a sense of loyalty and respect for tradition, culture and family. The Mafia protected its' members interests and promoted protected individuals and businesses in exchange for loyalty and monetary tribute. As time passed, and the Mafia expanded to the Americas, the Mafia became more “criminal”, engaging in provision of illegal services and
…show more content…
Finally Holcombe puts forth the idea that, for a positive economic view, the hallmark of government is the ability to tax all parties within a given geographical region, for the purpose of financing its operations. (Holcombe)

Mafia as Government

Would the Mafia meet the criteria of Rand, Dahl, or Weber? Except in certain isolated instances, probably not. The United States federal government exerts coercive influence over practically all individuals or firms living or operating within its boundaries, not to mention state and local agencies. Of course, by any definition requiring a monopoly of use of force, whether spatially limited or not, the “real” governments don’t qualify as governments either.

Following Holcombe’s definition, which does define the aforementioned federal, state, and local agencies as governments, where does the Mafia fall in respect to being considered as a government? In other words, can it be argued that the Mafia has the power to “tax” all businesses or individuals within a geographic area? Armed with only information from hearsay and popular culture, the answer would have to be yes. Systemized extortion or “protection” fees could very well be collected for all within a given area. It may be that the popular image is inaccurate, which may affect the classification, but for the sake of argument it is considered an accurate assessment here.

The issue may be raised as to the “legality” of the mob. It may be argued that…

More about Mafia as Government Essay