The Mafia of Naples

A look at one of the most powerful mob bosses of Italy:

And maybe that doesn’t matter. People may wring their hands about the horror of it all, but this is Naples, one of the great alternatives to modern life. It is possible that the world should no more root out the Camorra than make Neapolitans operate on time. And then there is the practical side. An anti-Mafia judge told me that some of the police—even those who have not been corrupted—would rather not see the government prevail, because they fear the even greater disorder that would result. Another judge pointed out to me that the government needs the Camorra for social control. He said, “For a political leader, it’s easier to speak to a Camorra boss than to 100,000 people to get a message across.” More than that, he said: the Camorra sets standards, enforces laws, keeps police power itself in check, fends off aggressive tax collectors, employs a huge percentage of the population, creates and distributes wealth more efficiently than any other sector of society, and stands in to keep things going, especially in times like these, when the national economy has failed and the currency itself is at risk.

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