The Mafia State Of Mind

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by Charles Hugh-Smith of OfTwoMinds blog,

Once the mafia state of mind has seeped into every nook and cranny of the society and economy, it's not even recognized as corruption: it's simply the way the system works.

We recently spent a few days with a friend who was born and raised in Sicily who now lives elsewhere in Europe with his wife (also Italian, from Naples). Though we talked of many things, one of his comments struck me like a bolt of lightning.

The Mafia isn't about shoot-outs, he said; the mafia is a state of mind.

He then pointed to a city trash collection truck driving by. Those guys are mafia.

I should stipulate that our friends are left-liberal in their views, and deeply concerned about the direction of free enterprise, democracy and social equality in Europe. He did not make these comments as a joke but with the utmost seriousness.

Why are the union sanitation workers a mafia? Because they have the leverage (via strikes) to extract and extort what they want from a populace who earns less than they do in wages, benefits and salaries--a population with no other choice. Is there some other option to giving the striking municipal workers what they demand? Is there another choice to clear the streets of garbage? Is there another train system to get to work when the train operators are on strike? No.

The mafia state of mind is all about establishing a monopoly that leaves the populace no other choice, and that creates sufficient leverage to enable systemic extortion. In the mafia state of mind, the government is a partner in the racket. When thugs arrive in a peasant village in China to drive the residents off their land so a corrupt developer can build hundreds of highrise flats, where are the corrupt officials of the government? In line to collect their "fees", which will fund their purchase of homes in Vancouver, B.C. or Sydney, Australia.

Where were the government officials when BART employees held the San Francisco Bay Area hostage? Quietly collecting their usual bribes (politely called "contributions") from the union mafia.

The mafia state of mind is all about extracting wealth that could not be extracted without state enforcement, monopoly and covert systems of control and extortion. When the "too big to fail" banks received $16 trillion in direct subsidies and loans to keep from imploding (i.e. what would have happened in a truly free enterprise system), that was the mafia state of mind in action: the central state extorted whatever was necessary from the populace to aid and protect its banker cronies.

What is the shadow banking system other than a shadow financial mafia? The "too big to fail" banking sector is a mafia of the cartel-crony capitalist sort, and the shadow banking system is a cloaked version of the same extortionist system that depends on the government for protection. In the shadow banking mafia, the government protects the racket by acting as if it doesn't exist.

When there is no other choice but submission, when voting for either party yields the same results, the mafia state of mind reigns supreme. The mafia state of mind exists in all ideological flavors--socialist, capitalist, communist. The mafia state of mind is simple: leave the populace no choice but submission, enforce monopolies of control and power, and then extract and extort to your heart's content.

Once the mafia state of mind has seeped into every nook and cranny of the society and economy, it's not even recognized as corruption: it's simply the way the system works. And so the residents of nominal democracies in Asia, Europe and the Americas do not even realize how thoroughly corrupted their societies and economies really are; they cling to the illusions of choice even as their incomes, wealth and political influence are funneled into the hands of various elites by overlapping extortion rackets.

Once you realize that the mafia is a state of mind, you recognize just how thoroughly it has corrupted and criminalized our entire society and economy.

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ParkAveFlasher's picture

A type more Greek, than Italian.

HyBrasilian's picture

In 'The Godfather 2', the main man Michael Corleone feared was Hyman Roth


"Keep your friends close & your enemies closer"

Fredo Corleone's picture

"I don't like your kind of people. I don't like to see you come out to this clean country with your oily hair, dressed up in those silk suits, passing yourselves off as decent Americans. I'll do business with you, but the fact is that I despise your masquerade, the dishonest way you pose yourself."

My brother Mike then arranged a bit of "entertainment" for Senator Geary at one of my joints. Well, you the story.

James_Cole's picture

Once the mafia state of mind has seeped into every nook and cranny of the society and economy, it's not even recognized as corruption: it's simply the way the system works.

This is the natural state of affairs, democracy is pretty much the abberation. You spend a bit of time in the 3rd world and you really see the mafia at work. The west has a long history of battles between the mafia (currently known by the euphemism 'corporations') and the common folks. 

Ignatius's picture

For an idea of how fucked up the 'politics' can get check out the documentary The Act of Killing.  This extraordinary film documents the 1965-66 Indonesian crack-down on "communists" as told by the gangsters who carried out the killing (a million plus).  Imagine the Nazi's winning WWII and the story is told from the perspective of shameless Brown Shirts.  It's currently on netflix.

tip e. canoe's picture

that movie takes surrealism to a whole'nother level.

found it quite disturbing to watch, but couldn't stop watching.

Ignatius's picture

Same.  Surreal and hard to watch.

USGrant's picture

Who was modeled on Meyer Lansky.

The Dunce's picture

The system has ALWAYS been corrupt.  It's just harder for the West these days because China has become such a force.  Life was better when Chairman Mao was standing on their collective neck.  Bastards.

asteroids's picture

It's cowards stealing from children and grandchildren. That's what happens when you run the debt to pay for your Porche while leaving the bill to future generations.

Drachma's picture

"Deriva-Tits" always Banzai. Oh and coffee all over my keyboard.

Rafferty's picture

And just like the Corleaoe family amost all the players are from the same ethnic group, with just a few reliable outsiders allowed inside the circle of trust.

Fredo Corleone's picture

Whatever became of Johnny Commode ? Did he take over Henry Hill's digs in the Witness Protection Program ?

johnconnor's picture

I wish I could give you a million up votes, awesome William Banzai, really awesome!

James_Cole's picture

That's genius, needs to be frontpage on zh!

medium giraffe's picture

Lol WB!   Hilarious, but a fucking travesty too.




You missed Yellen the Felon, the East Coast's most notorious cross-dresser.

sleigher's picture

Been saying this for years.  Small town CA.  1 garbage service in town and a local law that states you must have garbage service.  The fees were 3 or 4 times the neighboring towns and the owner was a Figone.  So obvious...  

TBT or not TBT's picture

A microcosm of the single party state that killed the golden state. The party in question has counterparts in other machine politics states and cities around the country. The party of slavery, the KKK, Eugenics, segregation, Jim Crow, internment, the destruction of our education system, the nationalization of healthcare, and on and on.

CH1's picture

1 garbage service in town and a local law that states you must have garbage service.

It's the new (fascist) way of getting business!

MayIMommaDogFace2theBananaPatch's picture

Be sure to sort all of your discarded stuff into individual bins 'cuz the overpriced monopoly can barely survive without this assistance from each and every common folk. </sarc>

MeelionDollerBogus's picture

What happens if people compost, have no garbage to put out?
What if EVERYONE did that & the racket-members just drove by on schedule to do nothing, paid, everyone knows it, everyone pays the tax for it, how absurd could this get?
Dirty stares & just driving by every week? So long as the shake-down money is paid...

Cookie's picture

Jeez, this guy is struggling to find something new to write each day

EmmittFitzhume's picture

Why are you reading it then? Fuck off

Grosvenor Pkwy's picture

"Jeez, this guy is struggling to find something new to write each day"

Right! Hugh-Smith is the master of the catchy headline leading to an article repeating the same old stuff he has been saying for the past 2 years, well-written, but very low in content:

"Things are getting worse, and someday something terrible might happen, but I don't know what, and I don't know when either.

"Now please send me money or I may have to stop writing these brilliant blog posts."

There's nothing "Mafia" about local trash pick-up, but a title like "The trash fees in my town are too high" just doesn't capture as many readers, now does it???

To the extent that the "Mafia" exists at all, it is the farthest thing from a government monopoly on services. "Mafia" usually refers to highly competitive businessmen operating in black-market businesses, undercutting existing monopolies and institutions, such as gambling pools competing against state-regulated casinos, or drug dealers violating government drug-control laws. No relationship whatsoever.

tip e. canoe's picture

i've been known to give CHS shit on numerous occasions in the past, more for regurgitating the exact same shit in the ZH comments back to us days later and then pimping his paid content at the end.  however, have to give him credit on his last 2 pieces, they've been very good in distilling the thematic elements of the overall thesis down to a level where it can be communicated to a wider populace.

and i respectfully could not disagree more with your point on the Mafia:  what you term the "Mafia" is no longer the Mafia.   the real Mafia has gone viral and fractal and infects every single level of modern society.   so much so that "Mafia" is not even an accurate term for it anymore, as it invokes improper connotations such as the one you made above.

Anusocracy's picture

Government has always been organized crime.

It just calls itself legal.

MeelionDollerBogus's picture

"There's nothing "Mafia" about local trash pick-up"
Ya there is: same for snow plowing. It's on contract & if there's a disagreement the mafia-union will stop anyone else from coming in to do the work. You can't even take your OWN trash to the dump, they'll slash your tires & blockade the entrance even though they DO NOT OWN the road, your car or the dump.
"Mafia" usually refers to highly competitive businessmen operating in black-market businesses, undercutting existing monopolies and institutions
Mafia is a monopoly formed by KILLING anyone else using guns & shake-downs to bring "income" in that is under threat at all times. You don't pay, you get picked up for a bad ride.
Maybe you haven't paid a few times & maybe you don't come home from that last ride. Government & Mafia operate the same way.
Government, however, is not a family business. That's the difference.

midtowng's picture

He had a good idea for a subject. He just executed it poorly

falak pema's picture

the mafia state of mind is just regression into clannish or tribal neo feudalism. 

"Hail the chief all bow to him. He defines th rules and its for our tribal good and goddam that fool's paradise of "general good"."

Now CHS you are deconstructing one of the SALIENT MYTHS of the 1970s, that shoed in, on a populist tinsel town diffused level---and Ronnie was a true veteran of that club-- the neo-oligarchy mantra of Reaganomics.

Big Boss man says the new rules don't respect the old rules of "general good" of the welfare state model. We don't want state side control no more. We want Don Corleone to show us what it means to be efficient. 

The new rules are : we make our own rules for our OWN kind of people; the rich supply siders!

C'mon this is Dallas and Dynasty! 

And now its paytime. 

WhyDoesItHurtWhen iPee's picture

Would any of these systems have a chance of working out ?

Capitalism - with an honest gov or with a dishonest gov.

Socialism -  with an honest gov or with a dishonest gov.

Facisim -     with an honest gov or with a dishonest gov.

Oligarchy-   with an honest king or with a dishonest king.

medium giraffe's picture

You've noticed that central governance is synonymous with corruption and repression, no matter what costume it's wearing?

Me too.

WhyDoesItHurtWhen iPee's picture

+100  " no matter what costume it's wearing?" love it dude.

alangreedspank's picture

Regardless of how bad it is, I wouldn't want to see Obama without a costume...

MeelionDollerBogus's picture

What I noticed is the more elaborate the costume, the less legit it really is, and if something really is legit, you shouldn't have to wear a costume to prove it.

falak pema's picture

You have to know what you want. The rule of many is a bitch but its never as bad as the rule of a few. 

If you read Plato's republic you have all these options very well defined in terms of pros and cons.

From our historical time line the lessons of the past should have taught us the ESSENTIAL. 

The questions you ask as a citizen of a new republic, with its own history of 250 years; where people thought they could reinvent the BASIC rules of civilization based on "the sky is the limit" capitalism; are finding out they have forgotten first principles of the past. 

Sad that. 

DblAjent's picture

Not sure if it was the founding fathers' intentions for capitalism to become cronyism, or for the free market to become a corporatocracy.

falak pema's picture

Big US capitalism was born in a united continent after the civil war and when the industrial revolution bred that mind set, giving it its geographical horizon, consequently its material justification, notably as the amerindian herd thinning was ramped up to its highest intensity, to achieve ocean to ocean nation reach in a resource rich continent. 

Founding fathers were small scale landowners. Modest horizons breed modest mindsets in QUANTITATIVE terms but not in QUALITATIVE terms.

The quantative meme, as we see in the QE fiat debacle,  fed on greed and hubris, has totally drowned the qualitative meme of Values and ethics. 

MeelionDollerBogus's picture

Capitalism with lots of well-armed people & no government at all.
Socialism with no government but lots of interacting & overlapping collectives.
Either of those would work, purely voluntary the entire time or it would all fall apart.

Rainman's picture

The Shitcago Way !! Do you feel it bitchez ?

ebworthen's picture

.gov telling me I had to buy overpriced health "insurance" or they'd break my knee caps was a pretty clear indicator.

After the '08 bailouts and FED QE going straight to the perpetrators on Wall Street you'd have to be a dope to not see it. shortage of dopes in the U.S.S.A.

Or is it dupes?

HardAssets's picture

Theyre dopes and dupes.

And that's why articles are written time and time again, with the same ole' theme.


The dummies still haven't gotten it yet.


Talk to most of them . . . and if you get more than a dull '''Huh ?"  it will be about the next 'election' and putting in another demorepublicrap to throw the current rascals out.

Catullus's picture

Why stop at health insurance? Car insurance is the same "I know a guy who had something bad happen to him" attitude.

RonBurgundy's picture

The Enlightenment conception of Rule of (positive) Law and Liberalism was an anomaly. We are just reverting to the mean.

Anusocracy's picture

Two hundred years of importing antagonistic mindsets has destroyed the founding principles of America.

The experiment that was America is over - permanently.

Cognitive Dissonance's picture

As a corollary to "The Mafia State of Mind" consider the devastating effect denial has on the ability of the average Joe to cope with corruption, cronyism and the police state. Because the person in denial is always in a state of 'catch up', meaning they are desperately attempting to assimilate external social, political and financial changes into their mental and emotional database while still maintaining their overall denial, the perpetrators are always one or two steps ahead, thus leveraging their limited numbers and the effects of their corrupting efforts exponentially. Propaganda is often used to confuse and delay the ability of the average Joe to see clearly what is going on because the propaganda feeds their own denial and wishful thinking.

We have heard that one should never waste a crisis. What I am talking about here is the continuously manufactured slow boil crisis of change that takes advantage of the already severely disabled person in denial. And we are all to some degree or another in some form of denial (consider the term ignorance or the inability to see the entire picture because it is being deliberately obscured if denial doesn't sit well with you) of not only the present state of affairs, but of the future potential acceleration of the "Mafia State of Mind".