text by Enzo Ciconte mafias are a world problem

Mafias are a world problem, not an italin one

Mafias are a world problem

Going through the judicial chronicles of the newspapers, you can read everyday news of anti-mafia or anti-drug operations involving several countries and several continents. In general, apart from the striking cases, these are short articles that do not arouse any reaction in public opinion […] Yet the Italian mafias – ‘Ndrangheta, Cosa Nostra and Camorra – have won a leading position in globalization, through their business system, by their shares in companies and financial credit institutions and thanks to an extraordinary ability to move from one part of the world to the other.[…]

They have become dynamic in the processes of economic and financial internationalization and contribute in the formation of that part of the world GDP which also feeds on the so-called decennial rogue economy that in the last few years has established itself in every corner of the world.

Since 2014, the countries of Europe, on the recommendation of Eurostat, the European Statistical Institute, have been able to include some illegal activities in the calculation of GDP, in particular prostitution, drug dealing and cigarette smuggling. The aim is trying to get “exhaustive estimates that include all the activities they produce, and therefore understanding their status”. These three activities are illegal in the overwhelming part of the member countries, but being “consenting” economic activities, in which supply and demand meet without constraints, they can be considered as part of European well-being.

If Brussels’ decision to include these illegal activities in the calculation of GDP (but considerably valid for the purposes of wealth) should not lead to a possible liberalization and legalization of them, it would appear totally insane and paradoxical. Extending the paradox of the economist Pigou, who demonstrated sixty years ago how it could be an economic damage to marry a prostitute by one of his regular customers (because marriage interrupts an economic activity that circulates wealth), today no longer buying a packet of smuggled cigarettes, after quitting smoking, or rehabilitation instead of continuing to use heroin and cocaine, could be seen as a damage to the economy rather than a good thing for you and your community.

[Text taken from volume 4 of the Atlas of mafias: history, economy, society, culture. Curated by Enzo Ciconte, Francesco Forgione, Isaia Sales].

Together with the ESC volunteers of Apice – Agenzia di Promozione Integrata per i cittadini in Europa who live in our hostel Il Paguro in the past months, we have organized a serie of training meetings on the subject of legality. At the end of these meetings we decided to create a social campaign to present the knowledge we gain. So we made the campaign both in English and in Turkish, to spread our message to all the people around the world.

Click here for the Turkish version