How soon before we see these effects in other countries like the US or the UK? Historically crime has flourished during times of great economic hardship. The ranks of unemployed and under-employed flock to those who can provide job training, benefits, and rapid promotion.
These are not the small time operators glorified or mis-represented in Hollywood movies or made for tv specials. Instead, the modern organized crime syndicate blurs the line between legitimate and illegal activities w/investments in real estate, restaurants, hotels, and other businesses.
The mafia has also traditionally been involved in one other government monopoly - money printing. Although these days, instead of printing presses all they would have to do is buy a bank and qualify for TARP bailouts.
NAPLES, Italy (AP) - While businesses around the world are hunkering down for survival, the Italian mob is living a golden moment.
Italy's various organized crime syndicates—often lumped together colloquially as Mafia Inc.—are gobbling up gas stations, muscling in on supermarket franchises, making loans to cash-starved businesses, taking over trattorias and acquiring buildings in swank neighborhoods in Rome and Milan, investigators say.
These mobsters have lots of what is in short supply for many businesses these days—liquidity—as well as centuries-honed expertise in preying on the vulnerable, whose ranks are swelling in the current financial crisis.
It all means the mob is free to sink cash into two areas that lie at the heart of the global meltdown: real estate and credit markets.