Organized crime is a capitalist endeavor. Remove government constraint, and corporations and organized crime will merge. Claims that government is organized crime miss the critical difference: government is where we place coercive power so that it may be publicly managed for public purposes, while organized crime is private management of coercive power for selfish purposes. While prohibitions create black markets and organized crime, even libertarians want prohibitions against force and fraud and thus would create problems.
- No Libertarians in the Seventeenth-Century Highlands [More...]
- Brad DeLong ridicules a debate held at the Reason magazine 35th anniversary banquet, skewering the wishful thinking of David Friedman. Private coercive enforcement, warlords, organized crime: they are all the same thing.
- The Sicilian Mafia: The Business of Private Protection (book)
- A comprehensive account of how the Sicilian Mafia organised and offered protection services to different customers.
- Weak states: Causes and consequences of the Sicilian Mafia
- "This column describes how in an environment with weak state presence[...] Within a few decades, the presence of the Mafia appears to have significantly reduced literacy, increased infant mortality, limited the provision of a variety of local public goods, and may also have significantly reduced local political competition."
The evolution of government from its medieval, Mafia-like character to that embodying modern legal institutions and instruments is a major part of the history of freedom. It is a part that tends to be obscured or ignored because of the myopic vision of many economists, who persist in modeling government as nothing more than a gigantic form of theft and income redistribution.
Douglas North, "Institutions and economic growth: An historical introduction"